3.6. Innovations at the Gazprom Group

RUB 21.4 billion

investments in R&D in 2020

RUB 11.2 billion

economic benefit from the use of R&D results by PJSC Gazprom’s subsidiaries (gas business) in 2020

328 R&D results

implemented across PJSC Gazprom and its subsidiaries (gas business)

Innovations and R&D at Gazprom

Documents regulating the Gazprom Group’s innovative activity:
  • PJSC Gazprom’s Innovative Development Program until 2025Approved by resolution of the Board of Directors of PJSC Gazprom No. 3513 dated December 1, 2020;
  • PJSC Gazprom’s Patent Strategy until 2025Approved by order of PJSC Gazprom No. 92 dated March 4, 2019;
  • R&D Program of PJSC Gazprom and its Subsidiaries;
  • Key Provisions for Managing Intellectual Property Rights of PJSC Gazprom and its SubsidiariesApproved by resolution of the Board of Directors of PJSC Gazprom No. 3451 dated July 11, 2020;
  • a set of PJSC Gazprom’s standards pertaining to the Intellectual Property group of standards.

For more details on innovation management at PJSC Gazprom, see PJSC Gazprom Annual Report 2020

PJSC Gazprom’s Innovative Development Program until 2025 is Gazprom’s tool for long-term planning and management of innovative activities, covering gas, oil, and electric power businesses of the Gazprom Group. The Program was updated in 2020 after comparing the technological development level and KPIs of PJSC Gazprom against those of its major peers taking into account the measures and target indicators of Russia’s national projects“Science”, “Education”, “Digital Economy”, “Environmental Protection”, “International Cooperation and Export”, “Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises”, “Labor Productivity”, the Strategy of Scientific and Technological Development of the Russian Federation until 2035, and action plans (roadmaps) within the National Technology Initiative.

 

In 2020, the Key Provisions for Managing Intellectual Property Rights of PJSC Gazprom and its Subsidiaries and the Action Plan to implement these Key Provisionswere developed. The Key Provisionsare designed to promote the competitive advantages and facilitate the development of PJSC Gazprom.

In addition, amendments to the Corporate Standard STO Gazprom “Intellectual Property. Innovations”were developed and approved. The amendments aim, in particular, to streamline the procedures for reviewing proposals for the purpose of their recognition as innovative, and to determine the sources of financial remuneration granted for the implementation of such proposals.

 

The number of R&D activities included in the R&D Program of PJSC Gazprom and its Subsidiaries increased by 40% in 2020 as compared to 2019.

 

The Company's R&D Commission continues to operate successfully, developing consensual proposals on the arrangement of R&D activities at PJSC Gazprom and its subsidiaries by way of thorough discussions and collegial decision-making practised at its meetings based on the principles of transparency, objectivity, and independence.

In 2020, despite the restrictions introduced to combat the spread of COVID-19, key R&D metrics grew year-on-year as follows:

  • total number of R&D activities initiated – by 25%;
  • number of R&D initiatives reviewed by the R&D Commission – by 60%;
  • number of R&D initiatives approved by the R&D Commission and included in the R&D Program of PJSC Gazprom and its Subsidiaries – by 40%.

The R&D activities are aimed at developing and adopting the use of high-tech domestic equipment and unique sophisticated technological complexes, and creating high-potential scientific and technical solutions.

PJSC Gazprom focuses on multiple advanced innovation areas in line with the technological and organizational development priorities set forth in Gazprom’s Innovative Development Program.

Promising areas of innovative development
  • Platform-based borehole geophysical survey systems and homegrown innovative technologies for directional drilling of wells based on a rotary steerable system
  • Digital modeling of fields and underground gas storage facilities
  • Technologies for processing complex feedstock to expand the lineup of derived products, advance NGV and hydrogen technologies, promote the LNG business, and support the use of alternative and distributed energy sources
  • Advanced methods of enhanced gas and oil recovery, engineering solutions for follow-up development of low-pressure Cenomanian gas deposits and development of deep-lying hydrocarbons and hydromineral raw materials for the production of iodine and lithium compounds
  • Innovative gas transportation technologies

All investment projects of the Gazprom Group are implemented using the latest available sci-tech solutions, including those developed jointly with Gazprom.

For example, in 2020, pilot development plans were prepared for the Kruzenshternskoye and Kamennomysskoye-Sea gas and condensate fields. Going forward, the resource base of the Yamal Peninsula and adjacent waters will make a significant contribution to the reliability of feedstock supplies for the emerging gas processing and gas chemical industries.

To facilitate efficient development of helium-containing resources in Eastern Siberia and the Far East, an updated digital geotechnical model of production facilities at the Chayandinskoye oil, gas and condensate field was created in the reporting year, and recommendations were issued to regulate well productivity according to the updated model. The multiple-year research and experimental works on the creation of a membrane technology of helium recovery from natural gas were successfully completed, and the technology which ensures an annual production rate of 32 bcm was introduced at the Chayandinskoye oil, gas and condensate field. It is also going to be deployed at the Kovyktinskoye gas and condensate field.

Production and comprehensive processing of formation fluid for obtaining hydromineral products are a promising way to better utilize the resource potential of PJSC Gazprom’s fields. When fields are developed, formation saltwater containing a wealth of valuable chemical components is produced in significant volumes along with hydrocarbons. For instance, pre-development of the Kovyktinskoye field included a geophysical survey and a resource base appraisal for setting up the production of lithium compounds and other useful components from formation brines, with resulting engineering solutions for the extraction, processing and disposal of formation brines.

Similar activities are being pursued in the Krasnodar Territory with a view to setting up the production of iodine and iodine-containing products that are highly sought after in the domestic market.

In 2020, innovative technical solutions were developed and implemented to maintain reliable, uninterrupted and efficient operation of the gas transmission system and underground gas storage facilities.

The gas chemical business development strategy of the Gazprom Group envisages the creation of innovative production facilities to produce target amounts of derived products, such as ethane, liquefied petroleum gas, natural gas liquids, polyethylene, polypropylene, etc. Studies are underway for a possible expansion of the ethane-containing gas (ECG) production system in the Nadym-Pur-Taz region in parallel with design works to build a separate ECG transportation system that could deliver feedstock to high-potential processing facilities (such as the ECG processing and LNG production complex near the town of Ust-Luga and the gas processing plant in the Republic of Tatarstan).

The Innovative Development Program of Gazprom also identified the key innovative projects, which are currently in progress.

They include:

Projects to create low-carbon technologies for hydrogen and methane-hydrogen fuel production

For more information about hydrogen energy projects, see Subsection Hydrogen Energy

Project to create a domestically-produced manned underwater vehicle (MUV) for offshore gas pipeline operation

As part of the MUV project, as of the end of 2020, the vehicle’s engineering design was completed, engineering documentation was developed for the manufacturing of prototypes, and breadboard models of the key components were ready. The project was carried out by a consortium of major domestic R&D enterprises, namely Kurchatov Institute, Malakhit Marine Engineering Bureau, Bauman Moscow State Technical University, and others.

 

Project to develop technical aids and technologies for horizontal well drilling

When implemented in the construction of wells, this technology will reduce the time required for well drilling, increase the horizontal length of wells, decrease the accident rate, cut down idle time, and ensure high precision drilling in pay zones.

 

Project to create a system of hardware and methods for geophysical well exploration

The implementation of this project will increase the productivity, effectiveness and information value of geophysical exploration works conducted in exploration and production wells, ensure the uniformity of geophysical information for geological interpretation and calculation of hydrocarbon reserves, and reduce the construction costs of exploration and production wells both onshore and offshore.

 

In addition to technological innovations, PJSC Gazprom extensively develops and uses organizational innovations.

The year 2020 saw active work on enhancing the system of long-term forecasting, cost management, and UGSS modeling.

 

Listed below are some of the results of this work:
  • Comprehensive Program for the Reconstruction and Re-Equipment of Gas Production Facilities of PJSC Gazprom for 2021–2025;
  • Comprehensive Program for the Reconstruction and Re-Equipment of Gas and Liquid Hydrocarbon Processing Facilities for 2021–2025;
  • Unified model for calculating the economic performance indicators of PJSC Gazprom’s investment projects;
  • Economic and mathematical model entitled “Probabilistic model for forecasting the costs for transmission of Russian gas to Europe in the long term”;
  • Program for the development of the mineral and raw material base of PJSC Gazprom until 2045;
  • Comprehensive development scenarios of off-grid gas supply and distributed gas-fired power generation taking into account the implementation of the Gas House Concept.

The year 2020 saw the implementation of 328 R&D results at PJSC Gazprom and its subsidiaries (gas business).

 

In 2020, R&D financing at the Gazprom Group grew by 76.8% against 2019 and amounted to RUB 21.4 billion.

 

R&D investments and actual economic benefit, 2017–2020, RUB billion
Indicator 2017 2018 2019 2020
R&D investments1 8,2 9,0 12,1 21,4
Economic benefit from the application of R&D results2,3 12,3 12,3 10,5 11,2

1 Including pre-investment studies.

2 The methodology for calculating the economic benefit from using the R&D results is formalized in a document of PJSC Gazprom standardization system and relies on the generally accepted approach to calculating the benefit based on the difference between cash inflows and outflows.

3 According to the information provided by PJSC Gazprom subsidiaries (gas business).

In 2020, PJSC Gazprom and its subsidiaries received 281 patents on previously submitted applications, including 18 foreign patents. The economic benefit from using the patented solutions in production operations amounted to RUB 5.16 billion. As compared to 2019, the overall number of patents increased by 112 and amounted to 2,786 patents.

 

For more information on the use of patents by PJSC Gazprom’s subsidiaries and affiliates, see Appendix

Partnership in Innovative Activities

Gazprom actively cooperates with foreign and Russian partners in the R&D field. For example, PJSC Gazprom in cooperation with UNIPER implements an international scientific and technical project for safe storage of methane-hydrogen mixtures in underground gas storage facilities. The project runs concurrently with a campaign demonstrating the importance of natural gas as a source of energy generating low GHG emissions.

As part of its scientific and technical cooperation with Wintershall Dea and OMV, the Company continues to work on a digital twin project for Severneftegazprom production facilities in order to improve the efficiency of joint operation of the Cenomanian and Turonian deposits of the Yuzhno-Russkoye OGCF.

Cooperation with anchor universities focuses on the core areas of the Company’s technological chain such as software development, and digitalization of production and management functions.

In 2020, Gubkin Russian State University of Oil and Gas completed the development of an intelligent system for managing underground gas storage operations, while Far Eastern Federal University finished the preliminary design of a Russian-made robotic complex capable of diagnosing the technical condition of subsea production equipment and monitoring hydrocarbon pollution of water in ice conditions at offshore fields.

PJSC Gazprom is participating in the creation of an innovative scientific and technical center for energy and oil and gas production at the St. Petersburg State Marine Technical University (Primorskaya Dolina Science and Technology Center).

In addition to cooperation with the anchor universities, the Company is building connections with other universities. In 2020, under the Cooperation Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Tatarstan and PJSC Gazprom, the Innopolis University continued to develop software for one-dimensional and three-dimensional geomechanical modeling.

For more details on innovation management at the Gazprom Group, see PJSC Gazprom Annual Report 2020

 

Roman Shchekalev

Head of Directorate, PJSC Gazprom; co-author of an innovative analytics software tool for the management of geological exploration projects. Takes part in the automation and digitalization of processes related to Gazprom’s resource base replenishment, and fosters their higher economic efficiency.

Partnership in Innovative Activities

Digitalization Projects at the Gazprom Group

Documents governing digitalization and process automation activities at the Gazprom Group:

Comprehensive Target Program for the Development of the Integrated Information Environment (IIE) for 2018–2022Approved by resolution of the PJSC Gazprom Management Committee No. 39 dated October 23, 2017;

Comprehensive Target Program for the Reconstruction and Development of Automated Process Control Systems.

5,000+ employees

of the Gazprom Group received training with a focus on digitalization in 2020

In order to consolidate and provide information to the Group's employees, identify opportunities for the dissemination, licensing, and commercialization of the best products in the field of digital technology development, the Gazprom Group's Digital Projects and Technologies Data Bank was created in 2020.

The implementation of digital technologies is an important tool for enhancing the efficiency of corporate governance and achieving strategic goals of the Gazprom Group.

In 2020, the Company continued implementing the following large-scale digitalization projects with extensive end user coverage and geography:

  • Basic automation of key management processes. Information and management systems (IMS) have been put into permanent operation at 26 subsidiaries involved in core business activities. In 2020, the IMS of the corporate management level had 34,000 users, while IMS for enterprise business process management were used by over 45,000 people.
  • PJSC Gazprom’s Unified Digital Platform for Investment Project Management (UDP). The main objective of the project is to create a system of IT solutions unified by a common approach to the implementation of business processes involved in managing PJSC Gazprom’s investment projects and designed to collect, store, coordinate, process, visualize and transmit reliable information on the planned and actual progress of investment projects. An IT solution is built on a modular basis, with individual functional blocks planned to be introduced to cover investment planning, information modeling and engineering data management, scheduling and network planning, cost management, management of the scope and terms of contracts, construction control, commissioning support, procurement of materials and equipment, as well as dedicated functions to support managerial decision-making.
  • Gazprom Group’s Unified Digital Economic and Technological Optimization Model ("Corporate Digital Twin").The model development process includes designing a unified storage and filling it with data (both automatically received from facilities and collected by software robots from various sources). The operating prototype of the model is already being used for creating the Long-Term Development Program and the Investment Program of PJSC Gazprom.
  • Automated production and process control systems, including those based on the unified Russian software and hardware tools.The pilots of such systems were already deployed for infrastructure development at the Bovanenkovskoye OGCF and Chayandinskoye OGCF and the construction of the Power of Siberia gas trunkline.
  • Smart gas metering systems, including for the residential gas supply sector, which will help optimize retail companies’ operations.
  • Gas Transportation Information Management System to manage the technical condition and integrity of the linear part of a gas trunkline. In 2020, a mechanism was implemented for making management decisions, including those ensuring safe operation of gas pipelines taking into account the required throughput.
  • Upgraded billing management subsystem. As of October 2020, a total of 413 entities and 185 branches of the Gazprom Group were connected to the system.
  • Transition of PJSC Gazprom's subsidiaries to tax control in the form of tax monitoring
  • Full-scale remote work arrangements put in place for employees amid the COVID-19 restrictions. 

For more information, see Subsection Tax Policy of the Gazprom Group

For more information, see Subsection Employee Safety and Business Continuity

In the reporting year, the Company also worked to create the Shared Information Space for Geological, Geophysical and Field-Related Information and the Production Control Information System. Another project was launched to facilitate transition of the Gazprom Group companies to an electronic document workflow of accounting documents and contracts based on Russian software.

In 2020, Gazprom ERC (the Unified Settlement Center of Gazprom) was also established as a centralized operator processing over 2 million payment orders annually.

 

Digitalization plans

By the end of 2021, the Gazprom Group plans to develop its Digital Transformation Strategy, which will establish new mechanisms for managing digital projects and will provide roadmaps for the gas business and cover general matters such as the development of digital culture, occupational health and safety, industrial safety, and environmental protection. The Strategy is being developed in line with the Passport of the national project entitled “Digital Economy of the Russian Federation” National Program"Approved by Meeting Protocol No. 7 dated June 4, 2019, of the Presidium of the Presidential Council for Strategic Development and National Projects.