REVIEW OF SOVIET PETROLEUM INDUSTRY TECHNOLOGY AND EQUIPMENT (S-3426)

Created: 3/25/1971

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

Ceneral Lrvel of Technology

Petroleum industry technology and equipment ln the USSR is basically similar to that developed in the US, but lags that of the west in all operations except perhaps in the transmission of crude oil and natural gas via extra large diameter pipelines. The areas of greatest US technical superiority lie in seismology and deep drilling, as well as, In the design and production of producing, processing, and pipeline installations.

A. Exploration methods in the USSR are similar to those developed in the US, but the Soviets are aboutears behind the US in applied seismograph techniques and the ability to nap deep drilling prospects. Soviet exploration for oil and gas utilizes all of the basic geophysical techniques, including seismograph, gravity meter andsurveys. Gravity and magnetic

accuracy ofordenravity meters is less than that of the US

type instrument. The Soviets have been unable to make reliable quarts

elements for their gravity meters and the difference in precision of readings is often critical. Gravity meters are essential for successful deep exploration

of the saltil deposits in the Caspian eabaymsnt.

The great contrast in Soviet nnd U3iph technology can be

attributed to the lack of modem computer hardware and software and the

obsolescence of receiving and recording equipment. The Soviets are deficient in the use and availability of magnetic tape and recording heads, digital and analog field recording equipment, computer playback centers for thef seicr.ic records, and hifih quality ^cophones and seisa-ic cable. The low

quality geophones and cable prevent the reception of low frequency signals reflected from deep lying structures. Soviet Geophones are reportedly under-damped and capable ofycles per second (CPS) signals; whereasPS are necessary for deeper exploration. The lack of computer gear precludes the display of variable density cross-sections and the ability tor integrate seiamograms. The widespread application of computers to seismograph operations has developed in the US sinceand since then it has revolutionized deep petroleum exploration.

Soviet seismologists rely heavily on the "refraction" method for regional mapping of basement structure, and the "reflection" method for the finalof drilling prospects. In the Vest, far greater reliance is placed on "reflection" shooting in all seismic work due to the greater accuracy of deep records vhich are vital to the iu&ppiiig of complex geological conditions. There is no evidence that the Soviets have developed weight dropping techniques like those used in the vest (Vibroseis or Dinoseis) in areas of high seismic noise background. Sparker nwthods are similar to those used in the west in offshore waters in order to avoid the detonation of explosives and fish kill.

B. Deep drilling 0 meter depths represent the major "bottleneck" in the future expansion of crude oil and natural gas production. Potential petroleum reserves are larg? but increasing well depths and rising well costs, vhich normally account for about IiOjS of total oil and gas industry investment, could limit output. Deepar drilling in old producing regions could also obviate the construction of long distance pipelines which consumef total industry investment and the costly development of new West Siberian deposits of oil and gas.

f all the oil and gas wells in the USSR are drilled

by tlie turbodrill method,6 by the rotary method, and the remainder by experimental techniques including the electrodrill and possibly percussion-rotary methods. Turbodrilling is exceptionally well suited for drilling in shallow (less0 meter deep) hard rock formations like those encountered in the development of the Urals-Volga Region, but it is inefficient in ths deeper soft rock formations found elsewhere. Rotary drilling is used> of the time ln the free world because it is much more efficient than turbodrilling0 meter depths.

Turbodrilling differs from rotary techniques in that drilling fluidsownhole motor (turbine) and bit, while the drill pips remains stationary. In rotary drilling, the entire drill column ond the bit arc rotated from the surface by motors. Slower rotational speeds, increased torque, asd reduced axial loads and wear on bits una drill pipe represent the chief economic advantages of the rotary method. Shortages of high quality drill pipe and tri-cone bits limit the use of rotary drilling0 meter depths ln the USSR. Ihe Soviets are also deficient in mud systems and in the technology of drilling fluid composition which adversely affects the penetration rates, Mt life and turbodrill life.

C. hose in the USSR are similar to those used in the west,

with one major exception. While developing the vast Urals-Volga oilfields in

tbe post World War II period, the Soviets Introduced the practice of

water flooding new fields at the outset or primary reservoir drive mechanism has

been exhausted ond co-xx?nces at the start of the secondary recovery phase of

the production cycle. The widespread use of water floods to maintain

reservoir pressures theoretically serves to increase ultimate reserves and

recovery, and requires tha drillingever number of high yield flowing

wells. In practice, the Soviets ruin fields by uneven flooding when they

overproduce flush wells In order to ne^evcT'p^oduction goals. When poanlble,

.J

natural gas reservoirs are repressured by recycling dry processed gas back into the producing strata with compressors, similar to US field procedure.

The area of greatest technical deficiency in production methods is the Soviets highly automated field equipment, high pressure well head units, centrifugal down hole pumps, and to produce two or more overlying reservoirs simultaneously, without the drilling of extra wells. The lack of equipment for processing condensate and associated gas at oil wells and the lack of sulphur

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'removal installations are matters of increasing concern to Soviet production

i

'operations. Much of these by-products are currently wasted. Aboutillion cubic meters of associated gas was flared Oil and gas well cemsnting techniques are also inadequate and improvement would reduce the amount of water contamination in producing zones.

P, Offshore technology ir. the USSK ia far behind that developed in the US, and in use throughout most of the waters of the free world. Petroleum deposits located offshore in the Caspian Sea in water depths exceeding h0 meters have been inaccessible, except by directional drilling from either onshore locations, or by drilling from manmade offshore islands which are connected to the mainland by trestle supported roadways. The Soviets have very limited experience with floating jack-up type, drilling platforms. he "Apsheron" was the Soviets only offshore floating platform and it was limited to the drilling of shallow wells no more0 meters deep in up toeter water depths. Inhe Sovietsodem offshore deep drilling platform, theostillion from the Netherlands. The Khazar should ae. able to0 meter wells in water depths ofeters. However, maintenance of the Khazar equipment my prove

n.

difficult and prevent optimal performance. The Soviets haveeed forffshore platforms in the Caspian Sea, but only one, the "Aierbaidjan"nder construction at Baku, lhe import of additional platforms from western suppliers appears likely. The Khaxar accounted for aboutf total petroleum Industry equipment imports The US industry possesses hundreds of offshore drilling platforms which operate throughout the world and hold most operating records. In addition the US industry has pioneered and developed most of the intricate offshore support systems and related technology which permit the economic exploitation pipelining, and storage of offshore crude oil and natural gas.

E- Ihc pipeline transmission of crude oil and natural gas through extra large diameter pipelines over great distances has reached its highest pointelop=en* ir. the USSR. The Soviets aie cui-iently laying oil and gas pipelines *i3 andnches in diameter which arc0 kiloT(;tcrs lone; whereas, the largest llnopipe used in the US is2 inches in diameter for relatively short distances. This experlnce has posed several Interrelated technological problems. In construction equipment, ln llnepip? metallurgy and fabrication, in the design of pumping and compressor equipment. In remote control systems, and in valves. Pipclire construction costs currently account for" about kO% of total pstroleum Industry Investment.

pipeline operations in the US are much more advanced in all other respects than those in tho USSR andigher degree of technical sophistication and automation. Kqulp.iisnt Supply and Tmparts

Petroleum industry equipment of all typhis is in short supply in the USSR,

and quite often it is obsolete, or unreliable. The short supply and limited performance of bisic oilfieldingcs on all phases of industry operations. In many instances, moderniiuition of equipment could be achieved by further modification of existing types; hovever, in other instances the equipment needed may not be domestically produced, and has to be Imported. Importa of petroleum industry equipment almost doubled5eflecting greatly increased purchases of drilling equipment.

equipment requirements include magnetic tape andcomputer hardware and software processing seismic records,equipment, and gravity meters. Seismic field operations wouldimproved with the acquisition of digital and analog recordingrelated software) and improved geophones and seismic cable.

imports of deep grilling equipment reflect theindustry's greatest need. Drilling equipment deficienciesrotary tools, offshore floating drilling platforms, tri-conedrill bits; high pressure mud pumps, veil head fixtures, andpreventersj high quality drill pipe, special tools and cementing equipment.

operations would benefit most from the acquiaitonproducing equipment (Line Automatic Custody and Transferproducing equipment, centrifugal down hole pumps, associatedplants and low temperature separation equipment. In addition,need compressors; oilfield desaitine and dewatering equipmentprocessing of crude oil; and hermetically sealed storage tanks,vapors andvaporating losses. In the future, moresophisticated producing equipment which can operate in arctic and permafrost

conditions will be essential for development of the W. Siberian oil and gas deposits (special wellheads, pumps and valves gathering systems and tank batteries).

D. ransportation and construction have increased rapidly during recent years but achievements have fallen short of announce Goals due to shortages of Acute shortages of large diameter linepipc, compressors, and valves, have necessitated imports, und reduced transmission efficiency and throughput opacity. Kan? pipeline failures have been reportedesult of low quality laoestic ateel pipes and valves. The Soviets now contemplate the use of the itrgeat linepipe in the world, including" sizes. , the Soviets plan to0 kilometers of oil and gas plpslir*0 kmI97O) which will require approximatelyillion ton? .iflip?. The pipe requirements done will probably excecl iomestic output plus what has currently been planned for import by; million tons, lhe corresponding requirements for large diameter Valves, pumping and compressor equipment will also exceed present Sovietcapability.

Estimated Total Consumption of Oil Products (Million Metric Tons)

Year

Europe

"

.

,

Consumption

i, of Total Consumption

Europe

u%

Estimated Military Consumption of Oil Products (Million Metric Tons)

tern

Estimated Military' Consumption of Jet Fuel (Million Metric Tons)

x958

x96i

Military -Consumption pf_Jet Fuelf Total Military

i960

.

Data on Soviet Hydrocracking

With tlie extensive demand for residual fuel oil in the USSR, there has been no widespread development of further processing heavy residuals, thus obviating the need for extensive introduction of catalytic cracking and hydrocracking of distillate fuel feedstocks. 7 it was*planned to develop the technology of hydrocracking in the USSR to yield |low sulfur diosel fuel and jet fuel, not to maximise gasoline output as in. tage system was being developed at-the rcaearch level, but problems were experienced in the developmenttable, efficient catalyst. Development ofatalyst was to be one of the main priorities of tbe All-Uaion Scientific Research Institute for Petroleum Refining. 0 it was expected that Soviet-built hydrocrackers wouldapacityona/year andater date would be builtapacityons/year. Plans for the future callypical Soviet refinery torude oil charge ofillion tons/year and Include catalytic reforming, hydrocracking, and hydrogen treating.

In earlye Sovjet Journal reported that several techniques for hydrocracking distillate raw material tages atanging from50 psi) had been developed.

Data were compared forons ofn gas oil y single-stage hydrocracking atim,y0 aim followed by catalytic cracking of unconverted part of the charge to the hydrocrackcr, andatalytic1 cracking ofydrotreating of products.

An economic evaluation war. giventage hydrocrackinj of vacuum gas oil at pressuresnd catalytic crackinghydro-

treating of the same charge stock, illion tons).

The basic conclusions indicated that in the first series of processes, the combination of hydrocracking and cat cracking uas most economical and produced the maximum yield of lighti$). In the second (high-pressurehe hydrocrackingigher yield of light products, but over-allo kf% more expensive then catalyticydrotresting. The Soviet author

stimated thatnit (high pressure) built in the USSR would costillion rubles whereas in. the capital investment would beillion rubles.

A process called "thermal contact crackingas developed in the mid lqfcO's. it reportedly has' sufficient flexibility to alter product outputiven feedstock and to produce coke. One commercial unit has been installed and plans call for units with capacities upons/year to be-built. TCC apparently can be used toheavy residuals toharge to catalytic cracking.

--turil IDli*'! 1IAL

.Refining Developmenl8 ln Eastern Europe

0 the Coraflunist countries of Eastern Europe' will process someillion tons of crude oil in their refineries. (Seeor crude oil charge capacities, by country.) Aboutillion tons of this total will be produced in theae countries andillion tons will be imported. Imports from the USSR will approximatemillion tons andillion tons will be obtained from the Free World (Middle East and Korth Africa). The estimated capacity of catalytic secondary processing units in Eastern Europe is less thanillion tons, or only about one-fourth of total crude charge capacity. Fluid catalytic cracking capacity In these countries amounts toillion tons per year. Only Romania and Poland have catalytic cracking facilities. The Plock refinery in Polandoviet-built unitapacityons per year tnd RomaniaS-built unitapacityillion tons per year (at the Brazi refinery)mall Soviet-built plan'sotal capacityons per year (at the Gheorghe Gheorghiu DeJ refinery).

Available data on plans5 Indicate that total crude oil charge capacity in Eastern Europe will approximateillion tons and total crude oil supply should bc at about that level. Imports

" Includes Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Poland, and acewnia.

of erode oil should amount to aboutillion tons, of whichillion will come from the USSR andillion froa the Free World. Most of these countries plan to install nore secondary processing facilities in new refineries that are to be built. There is considerable interest in employing US technology and equipment in the new refineries, especially for catalytic cracking and hydrocracklny units. Details are incomplete but the total capacity of catalytic and hydrocracking units should reachillion tons (See

During the, expansion of refining capacity will continue and mayevelillion tons per year Indigenous crude oil production in Eastern Europe probably will not exceedillion tons; imports will roach moreillion tons of which three-fourths may bo provided by the USSR. As the do-mands for higher quality products increase, there willreater effort to install secondary processing facilities, but the type and capacity of each cannot be quantified.

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Estimated Crude Oil Charge Caoaoifcv in Eastern

Million metric tons

Country

3

25

Germany

15

25

o ,

iS

at'

Estimated Capacities of Secondary Processing (Catalytic) Facilities in Eastern Europe

Thousand metric tons

Country

HT

-T

0 -

HT AU

-lk

-

0 -HA -

CB HT Alk

Germany

HT

- CCR KA T

n

- CC (or

a

T

. 01

HT

DO

-T NA C

a Til 9

0 -

CRDC

- CC ^

C KA R KA T KA C

Cat. Crackirg (CC) Cat. Reforming (CR) Hydrogen Treating (HT) Delayed Coking (DC) Alkylation (Alk) Hydrocracking (K)

KA

KA

Implications ofalull of Catalytic Crccklnfl OtilU to RaBtoTrTEuropii " "

ueat

The apparent increasing desamd for geaollns in the Polish ecotvoy hu pronpted Ult desire for catalytic erecking,ful proceaaield of gasoline front crude oil. luoland conaunedillion tons of gasollns, about one-third of th* total apparent corwunpUon ofillion tona of oil products. OX the total consumption of gasoline, It la estimated that net lnporta aacuattd toons. (See tabulation below) Tbeofcatalytic cracking null,apacityouldinstrunental 1b -Inert"lng the yield of gasoline froa lapartod crude oi) and in reducing Inports of thia product.

upply ln Poland. lySg

Coeausptioo

fuel

oil

fuel oil

bin expressed an lntereat In purchasing frontluid catalytic cracking unit vith an annual capacityilliono operate on RcesashJuno gas oilH cenxerslon, and toJf gasollae vith an octaneor et Aeeardine. to OOP technicians the catalytic crackerceapirablc capacity WUL by Sovietslight produce nore total gaaol'.neilt unit, and the resultant product would be as good, provided that catalysts of western origin were uaart. Ihe UOf peraonnel eatlAitcd thatS-built catalyticf the propani capacity nlfjit be ljiaaa lesi thenon-nreble Soviet-built unit, because of the larger reactor

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regenerator and generally acre Iron ln the Soviet plant. HOP experts also suggested that direct operating coatsS-bul It catalytic cracker would Be about half or the Sovict-bulll unit, although total operating coata night be only slightly leas for the COP unit.

The total coat of the proposed cat. cracker and ancillary facilities installed in the Hook refinery (including catalyst costa and royalties) vas estimated atJUion by UOP technicians. According to Soviet sources,? the capital construction coataatalytic crackerapacityillion tons/yearillion rubles0 all liar, at the official rate of exchange). however, it la difficult touantitative assessment of the cecraxrable coata for building Soviet or US catalytic cracking units Jn Eastern Europe because of tbe lack of Soviet data on what is included in their capital outlays and because of the unknown ruble/dollar ratio in prices of equipment, construction costs, labor costa, ate.

Future Catalytic Cracking mecis L- Eastern irurop*

During the, plans call for total crude oil charge capacity In Eastern Europe to Increase by aboulillionncluded in this expansion williable effort to add secondaryacilities for Increasing the flexibility of rerinery operations andthe Quality of the products produce 1. Fron available data on plana It appears that eastern Europe will seek to obtain etield catalytic cracking units, eachapacity of etillion tons/year Th* total cost of refinery expansion duringlod Bight0 Billionost0 par barrel of daily feed capacity). The coat ofatalytic cracking units, if purchased Id the US, would probebly rangeoillion, beaed on charges estimated by UOP roc the unit requested by Poland. The desire for the latest western cracking technology (us) my outweigh the reservations by thsae countries in sprndlng scarce foreign exchange for auch equipmeni. If Soviel cracking units worn installed in Eastern Kiirope, they could ba purchased with goodsarter deal, with no espjnditure of hard currency. However, after Polish and memavuan experience with Soviet eaclpaert, Xaal European purchases or such equipment may be md* only ir US technology is denied to than.

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Tha ealaetaiy-.ic cricking units Co Eastern Furope duringear* wolddnisnl effect on product output InT. There would be an overall increase In the yield of Cflsolinceclineutl-oil yields, but. these choices would be reasonable and nomil to nect Increasing aad changing deeanda for civil (aad adlltary) eoniuaptico. (Sea attached table).

urther expansion ofillion tona of crude oil chare"astern Europe Is foreseen. It Is anticipated that additional catalytic cracking units (aad hyJrc wrecking- will

be required to Met future needs of tbe area.

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Catalytic Crackinghe USSP

Catalytic cracking capacity ln tbe USSR Is estisiated at0 alllionr* of total crude oil charge capacity.oaparlBon, catalytic cracking capacity In the US is, equivalent to acre than kOf,rude charge capacity. Ihc ylsld of gasolln* or crude In the US la about ?li because of the extensive use of the sutcaobllt. Ia tha USSR, however, where the deawnd. for aut<noMve gaaotlae is soall, bet growing, the gasoline yield.

In Its own program of building secondary refining facilities, th? USSR ha* failed Blnrably during thaears. Soviet plaaaers have ccaplalaed bitterly sbout the chroolc unlerfulfiUsent of constructlca schedules and the operation or the units at leis-lhan-fleslgnod oapaclty even after their delayed completion. few capacities for catalytic cracking, catalytic reforaicg and easing are not being put on streaa as needed, la view of Increasing aeed* Tor higher quality products. igh-level Soviet refining official recently stated that if corrective neasurca are not taken quickly, the refining situation would beceaw critical.

Soviet experience ia caaetructioa of catalytic cracking units has proceeded slowly with the us? of standard designs, firstapacity, thennd fairly recentlyapacity. Froa observation and rroa Soviet data, the sires of reactors and regenerators are considerably larger than used ln US units, the catalyst* eeplcyed arc not as gool aid catalyst losses are larger, and average efficiency of op?rai.;on Is

WORSEN**

8*tf, ccmpBTcd to yN* ln us units. In addition to the probleos nontlonedthe USSR hoa, In tho Last lav veers, unlerruLfllled goals for production of refiner, equlpoent and has Increased imports of such equipaent, both frhe Free World and from Eastern Europe. It Is quite possible that the USSR aay be unable to supply the catalytic cracking units needed by Eastern Europe during the next few years and see! its own refinery construction schedulesavailable resources.

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