Gazprom Neft and VISITECH Have Developed a Unique Device for Positioning Drilling Rigs

27 January 2021

Specialists at VISITECH, which is included in the portfolio of the Far Eastern High Technologies Fund established with the participation of RUSNANO and Gazprom Neft have successfully implemented a comprehensive research and development project and have created VISITECH Q-SPT, a high-tech device for determining the position of drilling rigs. The tests were carried out in Russia’s northernmost onshore field under development—Vostochno-Messoyakhskoye field (Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Okrug, Tazovsky District).

The device is unique as it allows positioning a drilling rig with an accuracy of less than 5 cm in field conditions. This is a record for equipment of this class, with equivalent foreign equipment able to achieve a maximum precision of 15 cm. As a result, operations can be scheduled and performed at a higher level of precision, minimising drilling errors and increasing field production by covering larger areas of productive formations. These levels of precision were achieved thanks to a combination of the latest navigation components and an innovative ABC software platform with the use of machine-learning technology in the field of geodesy. By fully utilising three navigation satellite systems (GLONASS, GPS, BEIDOU) the solution is capable of achieving high results even in the northern latitudes of Russia.

Its key feature is that it is fully autonomous, which minimises the number of trips that need to be made by personnel for the purposes of fixing coordinates. This feature enhances safety at the production site and reduces equipment downtime and costs.

The Q-SPT tracker hub is manufactured in Russia and is designed to be operated in the most extreme conditions, including in the Far North. The device is protected against sudden fluctuations in temperature and humidity, and if necessary its built-in battery allows it to operate without an external power source for more than 15 hours. The Q-SPT hub can also replace a high-precision base station for the purpose of generating RTK GNSS corrections, and quickly switches to this mode at the touch of a button. The device is equipped with LoRaWAN and 4G LTE modules for data transmission and can be equipped with a secure Iridium satellite communication.

The next stage of the product development is scheduled for 2021. The goal of this stage is to produce and test an updated version of the device with additional functional capabilities of a central information hub that receives data not only from the drilling rig’s on-board computer, but also from all parts of the facility’s IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) system. The combination of ZigBee, LoRaWAN, and UWB technologies in one solution allows it to work with almost any IIoT devices, and to consolidate and then transfer structured data to the client server in encrypted form. The platform will be able to display the current state of drilling rigs along with other important business facilities on a single map, as well as to conveniently process the resulting data array using expert and cognitive analytics tools.

The oil and gas industry is a priority area for RUSNANO. The Group’s portfolio includes several other high-tech projects in the oil and gas industry that are either already in operation or will enter commercial operation in the future. For example, Geosplit is already using unique innovative technologies to carry out downhole marker studies. Another project is TUBOT, a company specialising in in-pipe robots, which is currently developing a robot for oil-filled pipelines jointly with Transneft Diascan and Transneft.

“We see that both in Russia and around the world there is a great demand for high technologies that optimise processes in the development and implementation of software solutions to improve industrial safety, labour protection and production efficiency in industrial enterprises. Such solutions are able to change the face of traditional industries by digitising the processes related to occupational health and safety, and promptly investigating and preventing accidents using big-data analytics. VISITECH Q-SPT is a perfect example of such a development. Using the accumulated scientific expertise of a number of major companies, VISITECH has created a device that, in terms of its capacities, exceeds world-known analogues. And in view of the magnitude of the oil-production sector, such developments may have a tremendous commercial potential,” said Artur Martirosov, Investment Director of FEHTF.

“Increasing productivity and labour safety are key priorities for the oil and gas industry. Today, the only way to achieve these goals is to use the digital solutions provided by the Industry 4.0. The implementation of innovative tools requires the acceleration of all processes involving technologies: from searching to testing technological hypotheses and creation of industrial solutions. One of the most striking examples of such an approach to working with innovations is a joint project with VISITECH. Working to a very tight deadline, a solution for positioning drilling rigs was developed and tested in field conditions, and it was found to meet the best standards of precision. It is important that this solution was developed and tested in a very short period of time, as rapidly implementing new technologies makes it possible to immediately improve the efficiency and safety when developing hard-to-recover reserves in the Arctic Region,” said Mikhail Korolkov, Head of the Centre for Digital Technologies at Gazprom Neft.

“A research and development project aimed at creating a digital satellite receiver to monitor the positioning of the drill string was accomplished by a joint project Agile team, which included specialists from Messoyakhaneftegaz and Gazpromneft-Digital Solutions, as well as software designers. This is a great example of cooperation between several companies in order to solve a complex innovation problem. The dynamic team not only developed a technical solution in the shortest possible time frame, but also tested a prototype in an autonomous Arctic field. The completed work has confirmed the effectiveness of the chosen solution, which may in time represent another step towards increasing the level of automation of field development,” said Gizar Nasibullin, Technical Director of Messoyakhaneftegaz.

Additional information


The RUSNANO Group includes the RUSNANO Joint Stock Company, the RUSNANO Management Company and the Fund for Infrastructure and Educational Programs. Thanks to RUSNANO’s investments, there are currently 138 factories and R&D Centers opened in 37 regions in Russia.

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VISITECH was founded in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk in 2015 and is a resident of the IT Cluster of the Skolkovo Foundation. The company is a developer and producer of industrial safety software, and provides industrial enterprises with comprehensive digitisation services in the field of occupational health and production safety.

For more information about the company, visit