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Young engineer: how to save half a billion…

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At first glance, building a career in the Far North is a bold, if not daring decision. However, it is there that the largest oil fields in Russia are located, so, combined with harsh winters and remoteness from megacities, local specialists have an opportunity to achieve rapid success in their efforts. A St. Petersburg university graduate told how to become a leading specialist in the Production Optimization Sector of RNYuganskneftegaz just within a few years.

Though Khanty-Mansiysk is the administrative center of Yugra, the country's main oil and gas bearing region, both in terms of industrial potential and population it is inferior to Nefteyugansk. This is explained by the fact that RN-Yuganskneftegaz, Rosneft’s main production unit, which accounts for about 30% of the company's total production, is the latter's town-forming enterprise.

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"We live in a dense environment of fields. Almost all residents of Nefteyugansk, one way or another, are employed in the oil industry: almost half of them work for Yuganskneftegaz, while the rest are employed by service companies, for example, for well repair. Sometimes people ask me if I would like to change the climate and move to a bigger city. This is indeed a hard-to-live-in region, but I have never lived in other realities and have never thought about it in the context of "it's hard here - it's easy there". Everything revolves around oil. When you live in an oil region, there is no doubt about which industry is key to the country's economy. Does it make sense to leave? At the end of the 9th grade my parents suggested me to try to enter a Rosneft class, which is supervised by the company of the same name. There are only 2 of them in the city and 10 in our entire region, so the competition usually exceeds 5 people per place. The strongest teachers and students are admitted there, so the quality of secondary education is ensured. As a result of the contest I managed to enter one of them," says Alexander Posokhov, a graduate of St. Petersburg Mining University.

The young man speaks about the initial stage of the system of training “School-university-company.” It aims at solving the problem of shortage of qualified engineers in the fuel and energy complex and mineral resource complex of the country and is used in a number of large holdings and corporations. The schoolchildren study in depth the exact sciences, regularly meet with representatives of specialized professions, who talk about their work, master the “Oil School” course with a virtual visit to the fields and study the key processes of the enterprise.

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The format requires stricter rules for attending an educational institution. For example, a six-day week and no weather stand-by - ordinary schoolchildren can miss classes at temperatures below 30-35 degrees, for pupils of "Rosneft classes" there are no such indulgences.

"Like all my classmates, after two years, I had the opportunity to apply early, before writing the USE, to one of the leading mining universities in the country based on the results of the Olympiad. It is held by region, each of which receives a fixed number of seats in the partner universities of the company. In our case, the selection was carried out among students in KHMAO. For each of the five proposed specialties 4 places were allocated. The more points a student scored, the more specialties they were offered to choose. The most prestigious one was "Development and operation of oil and gas fields". Having taken the fourth place in the general rating, I got the last place in this sphere and entered St. Petersburg Mining University," explains Alexander.

Горный университет
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"The scale of Mining University threw me into a slight shock. The training complex includes both historical buildings with marble floors, columns and forged stairs, and modern buildings, where scientific centers and auditoriums with multimedia and experimental equipment operate. Thus, in the laboratories of my specialized faculty we created drilling fluids ourselves, modeled the drilling process and learned to control it, studied the principles of well operation and practiced their overhaul using simulators. These are the moments that involve us in the training process and later in our profession. And these are not just stands, but operating laboratories that accept orders from leading Russian companies," the graduate recalls.

Taking into account the target format of Alexander's training, he had his practical training in his hometown. Internships played a great role in understanding the oilman’s profession and how one can apply the huge amount of knowledge gained at the university. This motivated him to move forward further and to enter the Master’s degree program.

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"Alma Mater gave a general picture of the whole industry - from the structure of a single layer to trends in the world economy and on what political processes they depend. Such a full-scale understanding of the market is immediately noticed by the company's management, which begins to follow the specialist's success more closely," says Alexander.

According to him, the majority of Mining University graduates hold serious positions in RN-Yuganskneftegaz and actively participate in the enterprise development. However, at first the young man had to get there. Having received his degree, he went home with confidence that he would be immediately employed.

"It turned out that studying in a university with a name is not a guarantee of employment. I was sent for an interview. It can't be called a standard one: there are 12 people in the commission, and 2000 newly graduated specialists from all over Russia are applying for 100 vacancies. Among them there were not only contract students, but also everyone who wanted to get employed. The large-scale participation is explained by the desire to enter the Young Specialist program, a prerequisite of which is employment immediately after graduation. Such recruitment takes place every summer," Alexander says.

We are talking about the final stage of that very global system of continuous education "School - University - Enterprise". Its popularity is due to the fact that participants receive a whole package of privileges: early promotions, development courses, internships in managerial positions and benefits (for example, accelerated receipt of the northern allowance to the salary).

Alexander passed the interview and was assigned to the company's largest oil production shop. The young man spent two years at the Prirazlomnoye field. The first position he occupied was the oil and gas production operator. The field work, where the academic knowledge obtained is not a guarantee of success, develops other competences here: the ability to think systematically, work in a team, and take responsibility.

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Six months later the young man was appointed a geologist of RPM (reservoir pressure maintenance), which controls the work of 40 operators. He was responsible for the entire stock of injection wells (500 units!) in the field used to pump water into the formation. In another 6 months Alexander became a senior geologist.

“After living for two years in the ‘dog-house town’ with a schedule of 7 days on shift and 7 days of rest, I was transferred to the central office of the company, located in Nefteyugansk. I was invited to the Tank and MTF Performance Improvement Department as a leading specialist of the Production Optimization Sector. Today I coordinate well workover in the whole Maisky Region. The experience I gained this year helped me to take the 1st place at the Scientific and Technical Conference of Young Professionals held annually by PAO Rosneft among its divisions. I presented a project for optimization of control stations at the field. The idea is as follows: pumps for oil production are controlled by special stations located on the surface. I noticed that at the majority of wells the pumps do not operate continuously but at regular intervals during which oil accumulation occurs. This is explained by the fact that now we mainly develop low-permeability reserves. Thus, there are neighboring wells with alternating operation of pumps - conditionally one pumps for 10 minutes, then another pumps. The modes of active operation in them never overlap, so why do we need two control stations when we can use one that will switch between them?” Alexander summarizes.

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What is the cost-effectiveness of this proposal? If a conventional station costs 100%, one double will cost 130%, bringing savings of 70% from a pair of wells. In money equivalent the modernization of one pair of control stations allows saving 1 million rubles. According to the latest estimates there are 500 such pairs in the company, i.e. the sum is 0.5 billion rubles.

The directorate, where the young specialist works, has ordered a contractor to design such an innovation station. Literally in a week it will undergo its first tests. The old equipment will be replaced as soon as it is technically possible. Released stations are planned to be used at new wells where pumps operate in a permanent mode.