Search of the Efficient Solutions for the Development of High-Viscosity Oil and Bitumen Deposits


Against the background of depletion of traditional hydrocarbon reserves and rising oil prices, the development of deposits of high-viscosity oil and natural bitumen every year becomes an increasingly urgent scientific task.

About 975.1 million tons of high-viscosity oil geological reserves are concentrated in the Timan-Pechora oil and gas province. Most of them are concentrated within the largest in the north-east of Russia, the Yaregskoye field located in the Ukhta region of the Komi Republic. 

The Yaregskoye field of high-viscosity oil in the Komi Republic is the only field in Russia that is developed by the mine method. This method involves the production of oil from the oil reservoir using underground mine workings or underground wells constructed in the oil mine. This method of the production of high-viscosity oil can be used for developing heterogeneous energy-depleted oil deposits of medium viscosity. The main advantage of the oil production mine method is maximum proximity of the mine horizon to the oil reservoir, which allows to minimize oil losses and to perform a more complete opening of the reservoir. The main disadvantage of oil fields mine development is the need for people to stay underground under the influence of harmful and hazardous production factors, and, first of all, the high temperature and humidity at the workplaces in the mining workings.

The performed analysis of the Yaregskoye field development systems allows to change the approach to the field development with the help of new objects of the underground oil production — modular mines (it solves the problems with the maintenance of existing oil depots and normalizes the temperature regime in the existing mine workings, thereby improving the working conditions of oil producers, and reduces the risk of occupational diseases).

Development of high-viscosity oil deposits (sites) using modular mines can change the approach of oil companies to the strategy of involving hard-to-recover reserves in operation.

  1. Modern methods of enhancing oil recovery: Сollection of the scientific papers. Moscow: Nauka, 1992. 136 p. (In Russ.).
  2. Kalesheva G.E. Development of high-viscosity oil production technology at the Karazhanbas field. Molodoy uchenyy = Young Scientist. 2015. № 9. pp. 446–451. (In Russ.).
  3. Byramjee R.J. Heavy crudes and bitumes categorized to help assess resources, techniques. Oil and Gas. 1983. Vol. 81. № 27. pp. 78–82.
  4. Martinez A.R., Ion D.C., De Sorsy G.J., Dekker H., Smith S., Desprairies P., Engelhoven M., Kruizenga R.J. Study group report: Classification and nomenclature systems for petroleum reserves. London: John Wiley & Sons, 1984. 34 p.
  5. Onder S. Evaluation of occupational injuries with lost days among opencast coal mine workers through logistic regression models. Safety Science. 2013. Vol. 59. pp. 86–92.
  6. Schulte P.A., Pandalai S., Wulsin V., Chun H.K. Interaction of Occupational and Personal Risk Factors in Workforce Health and Safety. American Journal of Public Health. 2012. Vol. 102. № 3. pp. 434–448.
  7. Fomin A.I. Features of the development of the Yaregskoye heavy oil field. Vestnik Nauchnogo tsentra VostNII po promyshlennoy i ekologicheskoy bezopasnosti = Bulletin of the Scientific Center of VostNII on Industrial and Environmental Safety. 2019. № 1. pp. 75–81. (In Russ.).
  8. Morozyuk O.A. Analysis of the development of the Yaregskoye field by thermal mine technology. Neftepromyslovoe delo = Oilfield Engineering. 2010. № 11. pp. 45–52. (In Russ.).
  9. Konoplev Yu.A. The choice of a method for predicting oil production by the thermal mine method for the slope blocks. Neftyanoe khozyaystvo = Oil Industry. 1992. № 2. pp. 18–20. (In Russ.).
  10. Konoplev Yu.A. Thermal mine development of the oil fields. Moscow: Nedra, 2006. 216 p. (In Russ.).
  11. Tabakov V.P. Guidelines on the design of thermal mine development of the fields with high viscosity oils and natural bitumen (in relation to the conditions of the Yaregskoye field). Moscow: Ministerstvo neftyanoy promyshlennosti, 1982. (In Russ.).
  12. Fomin A.I., Grunskoy T.V. Guidelines for assessing the risk of developing occupational diseases in underground personnel using the thermal mine method for producing highly viscous oil. Vestnik Nauchnogo tsentra VostNII po promyshlennoy i ekologicheskoy bezopasnosti = Bulletin of the Scientific Center of VostNII on Industrial and Environmental Safety. 2019. № 1. pp. 82–89. (In Russ.).
  13. Fomin A.I., Grunskoy T.V. Integrated Assessment of the Occupational Risks of the Employees of the Underground Group while Extraction of Oil Using Thermoshaft Method. Bezopasnost truda v promyshlennosti = Occupational Safety in Industry. 2019. № 3. pp. 81–86. (In Russ.). DOI: 10.24000/0409-2961-2019-3-81-86
DOI: 10.24000/0409-2961-2020-7-20-25
Year: 2020
Issue num: July
Keywords : oil production Yarega field Komi Republic oil mines thermal mine technology for oil production development system modular mines high-viscosity oil bitumen
  • Fomin A.I.
    Fomin A.I.
    Dr. Sci. (Eng.), Prof., Lead Researcher AO «NTs VostNII», Kemerovo, Russia
  • Grunskoy T.V.
    Grunskoy T.V.
    Cand. Sci. (Eng.), Assoc. Prof., Ukhta State Technical University, Ukhta, Russia