Discovery of Romashkinskoye oilfield

Discovery of the Shugur oilfield has become just a comma, while the role of an exclamatory sign in the history of development of the Tatarstan entrails was played by the Romashkinskoye oilfield. While the disputes concerning the oil presence in the subsoil entrails of the Volga-Ural region continued to excite the scientific circles, the last word still belonged to geologists and drillers. The discovery of new and new oil layers enabled the scientists to advance more and more audacious hypotheses concerning the commercial reserves of oil in the region.

The development and expansion of oil prospecting works and the construction of the Shugur oilfield have become the starting points for creation in Tatarstan of an oil base of the country – «the Second Baku». The historical value of emergence of a new strong centre of oil production and oil refining cannot be overestimated. It has become an event of indeed global scale.

Meanwhile, the discoveries of oilfields of the second Baku continued. In May 1944, with the well No. 2, a drilling team headed by Ya. Buyantsev exposed the commercial presence of oil in the Verei-Namur deposits. Initially the well produced up to 40 tonnes of oil a day. Afterwards, it was operated by well springing, yielding up to 10 tonnes a day. The discovery of the second productive horizon in the lower Carbon layer was significant not only in itself, but also acted as a proof that geologists were on the right path. The wells gave a unique material. Having been summarized, it gave an opportunity to prove that the relief of the pre-Cambrian crystalline foundation goes northeastwards from Shugur to the village of Timyashevo. The prospecting of more productive oil layers had to be continued in that very direction.

The discoveries of oilmen in the neighbouring republics and regions outlined the area of the most promising prospecting, the centre of which was located in the Almetyevsk district. Undoubtedly, oil prospectors were just a step from new discoveries.

At that period, several governmental resolutions were adopted that played a decisive role in the development of construction of new fields in Tatarstan. As early as in March 1944 the Soviet of People’s Commissars of the USSR adopted a resolution to start the prospecting work and preparing for construction of an oil field at the Shugur oilfield. That document set the large-scale tasks for oilmen concerning the further expansion of drilling works and the discovering of new promising oilfields for their commercial development. In particular, already in 1944 there had to be drilled 7 deep exploratory wells with the total length of 4750 m, and the number of the operating drilling machines at the Shugur oilfield had to be increased up to four. A great part of work on the development of that oilfield fell on Tataria. The republic provided construction materials and 500 workers from the local population. It also provided 100 carts with carters for transportation of equipment and construction materials.

However, it proved to be quite difficult to create an operating oilfield in a short period of time both from technical and organizational points of view. To achieve the goal, they had to suspend the works at several exploratory oil wells and to move the drilling equipment to another location. They also had to retain workers, saying nothing about qualified drillers and geologists. To develop the Shugur oilfield, «Tsentrospetsstroi» Trust established a construction-and-mounting bureau No. 4 in Shugurovo. A whole group of managers and experienced geologists and drillers was sent to the new oilfield.

And still, those efforts were not sufficient. Right after the end of war, in May 1945, a special meeting of the State Committee for Defence (GKO) considered the question of further speeding up of putting into service of the new oilfield. Based on the order of the People’s Commissar for Oil, an enlarged oilfield was established on the basis of the Shugur oilfield subordinated to «Glavneftedobycha» (Head Oil Production Enterprise). The task was set to increase daily production of oil up to 100 tonnes by the end of 1945.

It was also decided to continue the prospecting in the Devonian layers, and at the Shugur oilfield in particular. The workers were retained, and «Tatgeologorazvedka» (Tatarstan Geological Prospecting) Trust was provided drilling machines, diesels, mobile power stations, tractors, various equipment and materials. And still, it was extremely difficult to overcome the post-war devastation and certain organizational and process problems.

Meanwhile, new specialists came to work after coming back from the battle front and were sent to Tatarstan by the People’s Commissariat for Oil. Rafkhat Mingareyev was among such people. At first he became the head of the production and technical department of the Shugur oilfield and later he became a shift assistant to director of the oilfield, then the chief engineer and director of the oilfield. Later he became the head of Tatneft Association and deputy Minister for oil industry. The construction of industrial premises and housing for workers was at full speed.

Yes, the Tatar oil was discovered and its production was started, but those reserves were in fact not included into the production cycle of the country, since permanent and uninterrupted supply of oil to transport communications was not arranged. To ensure the full operation of the wells, a pipeline from the Shugur oilfield to Klyavlino station had to be built. To solve the task the efforts of the whole republic were required. However, the building of the pipeline began, though with great efforts and difficulties.

Gradually, the task-oriented work on the prospecting of Devonian layers began to bring results. On 17 September 1946 a team of drillers headed by S.F. Baklushin from the «Tuimazyneft» Trust uncovered a thick oil-bearing layer of Devonian origin with high daily oil output at the depth of 1770 m in Bavly. That discovery strengthened the confidence of oil prospectors that they chose the right course for performing the drilling in Devonian deposits in addition to the coal measures. Special hopes were connected with the drilling of wells in the vicinity of the Romashkino (Timyashevo) village of the Novopismyansky district. It was there where the Romashkinskoye oilfield was found after the drilling of the well No. 3 by the team of a young master S.F. Kuzmin (headed by A.V. Lukin) from the Shugur Oil Prospecting Enterprise in the Devonian pay section. On 25 July 1948 the testing of the well resulted in the gusher yielding daily over 120 tonnes of water-free oil! Later it was established that it was not only the largest oilfield in Tatarstan, but also one of the largest oilfields in the world.

Taking into account the new geological criteria of oil prospecting in the Devonian layers, geologists of Tatarneft Trust A. Melnikov, S. Yegorov, G. Yakoupov applied the technique of a wide coverage of the territory surrounding the well No. 3 by exploratory wells for 5-10 km. All of them produced oil. The assumptions concerning the presence of oil in Devon and outside of the Romashkino structure were fully confirmed. Later on, the application of the same technique lead to discovery of the Minnibayevskoye, Abdrakhmanovskoye, Pavlovskoye and other Devonian oil-bearing fields. Its efficiency was also proved later when conducting exploratory works in Samatlor and other West-Siberian oilfields.

The geologists have handled this challenge quite successfully. After that the initiative passed to production workers who had to develop, arrange the production and transportation of oil.