MOSCOW, Aug. 17 (UPI) -- Russian oil company TNK-BP announced it's the first company in the country to use hydraulic fracturing to get reserves out of mature fields in western Siberia.
TNK-BP said it "demonstrated impressive performance" in a pilot program for 15 wells developed using hydraulic fracturing.
"West Siberia is a strategic region for TNK-BP, with potential oil reserves of over 1.5 billion tonnes," said Francis Sommer, TNK-BP senior vice president for operations and technology, in a statement.
"The use of new technologies to develop mature fields has enabled TNK-BP to tap reserves that could not be commercially produced before."
TNK-BP, Russia's third-largest oil company, said the time required to complete one well using this technique was shorter and resulted in higher reservoir productivity than alternatives.
The company said there are plans in place to use the technology in another 25 wells in the region by the end of the year. An additional 50 wells using hydraulic fracturing are scheduled for development every year starting next year.
Hydraulic fracturing is controversial because chemicals used in the process are seen as potential sources of groundwater contamination. TNK-BP made no mention of safety concerns.