The Karpenskiy licence area is situated in the northwest part of the Caspian Petroleum Province. There are two known productive intervals, subsalt and suprasalt, divided by the Kungurian salt, which is a regional seal. Major hydrocarbon fields exist along the margins of the Caspian depression, such as the Karachaganak, Zhanzhol, Kozhhasay, Urikhtau, Kensiyak, Alibekomla, Tengiz, and Astrakhanskoye fields.
The Karpenskiy Licence Area is located approximately 150 kilometres from the city of Saratov. The Central Asian Centre pipeline ("SAS"), which transports gas from Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan to countries bordering Russia to the West, including Ukraine, runs through the centre of the licence area.
In addition, the Mokrous pumping station which compresses gas in SAS is approximately 10 kilometres from the northern edge of the Karpenskiy License Area. The SAS would also provide PGK access to local consumers through branch pipelines to European Russia.
Exploration of the Karpenskiy Licence Area has been conducted since 1975, when the Ministry of Geology of the Soviet Union approved an exploration programme across the Pre-Caspian depression following the discovery of the Karachaganak field. Licences covering the Karpenskiy Licence Area were held by entities within the LUKoil Group from August 1996 until May 2006, when the Karpenskiy License was transferred to the Volga Gas subsidiary, PGK.
In the northern portion of the KLA, Volga Gas acquired 107km2 of 3D seismic over the Yuzhny-Ershovskoye ("YE") and 160km2 over the Yuzhny Mokrousovskoye ("YM") structures in summer 2007. Following processing and interpretation of this data, the first deep sub-salt well, Grafovskaya#1, was spudded on August 28, 2009. The well reached a depth of 5379 meters (April 2010) and the full string of casing was set (logging suggested a potential 300m thick carbonate reservoir). Subsequently, four potential reservoir intervals were tested and indicated hydrocarbons but proved to be sub-commercial.
In parallel, the Company undertook a successful supra-salt exploration and development drilling programme. Since 2007 a total of eleven wells were drilled into shallow reservoir targets in the southern portion of the KLA, resulting in the discovery of commercial reserves in the Uzenskoye and South Uzenskoye accumulations.
Since late 2008, the South Uzenskoye field has been in continuous production and has, by the end of 2017 produced over 2.8 million barrels of high quality crude oil from a total of five active wells. In addition, during 2017 a new horizontal well, Uzen #101 was drilled into the undeveloped Albian reservoir on Uzen and has been in production since December 2017. After eight years of successful and profitable production, the existing wells have reached maturity and the focus of the development will turn towards maximising extraction from the existing wells, the development of currently unexploited oil pools in the existing fields and on drilling other exploratory targets in similar structures within the KLA.
Several other potential supra-salt structures have been identified on the KLA and will be explored in a due course. Among these is a shallow and intermediate depth exploration target in the Yuzhny Mokrousovskoye area with prospective resources of up to 159 million barrels of oil equivalent and the Mironovskaya prospect with prospective resources of up to 25 million barrels of oil.