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Gazprom Neft joint venture fund New Industry Ventures is supporting the development of Russia’s first ever high-speed downhole survey system

The “New Industry Ventures” fund (a collective venture fund involving Gazprom Neft, Gazprombank, the Russian Venture Company (RVC) and VEB Ventures) has invested in developing a universal telemetry platform to support the drilling of high-tech wells.

Russia’s New Industry Ventures fund has committed support for a project by Axel — a company specialising in developing and producing digital solutions and telemetry equipment for drilling processes. Supported by the fund, Axel will complete its development of Russia’s first ever platform for high-speed downhole surveys. This product will make it possible to obtain data on drilling trajectories and strata geological properties, in real time — swift access to that information facilitating better control over well targeting and allowing prompt adjustments, thus avoiding potential complications. Axel’s innovative product increases construction speed, improves accuracy in targeting oil-bearing formations, and increases well-flow rates, while minimising project costs and drilling risks.

In terms of key features, this Russian solution matches leading global alternatives, at a significantly lower cost. The product is marked by high speed and accuracy in data transfer, as well as minimal energy consumption. Axel has developed the industry’s first telemetry platform based on universal software — making the product compatible with most downhole-instrument manufacturers’ equipment, meaning oilfield services companies can optimise costs in providing drilling-support services on high-tech wells.

Research and development on the Axel platform and its components is now complete, having involved more than 40 pilot tests and field trials. Individual components and system prototypes have been delivered to more than 25 clients — all oilfield services companies in Russia and abroad. Support from the New Industry Ventures fund will mean the company can expand production capacity, continue developing its telemetry-equipment—remote support system product line, and open a representative office in the United Arab Emirates — Axel’s key markets, alongside Russia, being the Middle East, Asia and West Africa.

“Our company is an industry leader in terms of technology, including in horizonal drilling. Our drilling control centres coordinate the construction of around 1,000 complex high-tech wells — at company assets in Russia, and abroad — every year. The Axel’s solution’s USP is its non-dependence on other major producers, together with its ability to integrate solutions from major service partners, as well as local players. As a result of which, we anticipate a more competitive offering for our assets, particularly in bringing hard-to-recover reserves into development.”

Alexei Vashkevich

Alexei Vashkevich Director for Technological Development. Gazprom Neft

“The New Industry Ventures fund tracks a multitude of promising innovative domestic developments. We are delighted to be helping the emergence of Russia’s first high-speed downhole survey system — in which foreign oilfield service companies are also showing interest.”

Alexander Stepanov

Alexander Stepanov Deputy Chairman of the Management Board, Gazprombank

“RVC’s new strategy is directed at breakthrough growth in venture investments, and in strengthening Russia’s position in the high-tech market, worldwide. We are delighted to be joining forces with our partners in realising the full potential of Russia’s first high-speed downhole survey system, and in acting as an example in developing the innovative technologies that will be crucial in driving the growth of the Russian economy.”

Anatoly Braverman

Anatoly Braverman First Deputy CEO, Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF, RVC’s management company)

Oleg Teplov sees Axel’s solution as developing one of Russia’s backbone industries — a forceful argument for financing the company.

“This new digital platform will make it possible to significantly optimise costs in undertaking project works for Russian oil companies: it also has considerable export potential — another of the most important criteria for supporting a venture project.”

Oleg Teplov

Oleg Teplov CEO, VEB Ventures

Notes for editors

* Axel’s integrated telemetry platform combines MWD (measurement while drilling) and LWD (logging while drilling) systems. The Axel package provides real-time data on wellbore trajectories and geological formation properties, while drilling. This information enhances operational control over lithology, formation saturation and target well-bore trajectories, ensuring maximum drilling efficiency.

** Axel’s platform includes hardware and software packages for downhole measurements (surveys), with high-speed data transfer, as well as additional downhole tools, from various manufacturers (mining compasses, gamma modules, resistivity meters, neutron-neutron logging, azimuthal sensors, above-bit modules, and more).

Axel was established in 2013, by a group of directional drilling specialists. The company began supplying its first products to clients as soon as early-2014, establishing a sales network covering Iraq, Russia, USA, Kazakhstan, Indonesia, Turkey and the Netherlands by the end of that year. Axel is now completing its development of a universal high-speed telemetry system matching all international standards in drilling telemetry services.