Generation Next. What kind of specialists are needed at Rosneft
In 2017, Rosneft adopted a five-year development strategy for its business. Among the tasks are to reduce well construction costs by 10%, increase the flow rate of new wells by 5%, and increase the efficiency of well workover crews by 20%. The target date of 2022 is inexorably approaching.
Today the Russian oil and gas industry is investing hundreds of billions of rubles in scientific research. Companies remain under sanctions from Western countries, so maintaining a leading position in global markets requires increasing the number of domestic developments in oil production and refining, petrochemicals, as well as creating their software. On the agenda is the import substitution of equipment in horizontal well injection, multistage hydraulic fracturing technology, high-tech catalyst production, and, of course, digitalization of key processes.
Rosneft has Europe’s largest scientific complex, comprising 29 research and design institutes with a total headcount of more than 17,000 people. All of them are working to make the Rosneft-2022 strategy a reality. The company reports monthly on its successes. For instance, last March one of the company’s production assets, Orenburgneft, saved more than 100 million rubles by increasing the time between overhauls of its equipment and more than 300 million rubles by improving energy
In total, the economic effect from the introduction of innovations in only two years (2018 and 2019) exceeded 26 billion rubles.
The company assigns a significant role in achieving technological leadership to its young employees. At the annual scientific and technical conference, yesterday’s undergraduate and graduate students present their production optimization projects. The interest in the competition is huge - last year more than 2.7 thousand young specialists attended it. This can be explained not only by the desire to gain experience in the research activity of a large enterprise but also by the possibility to make a name for themselves and get an early promotion.
A fundamental point in the competitive bid is cost-effectiveness. Instead of lengthy talks and pseudoscientific promises, the result is expressed in money equivalent.
For example, the Yuganskneftegaz fund has about 13 thousand wells. More than a quarter of them are complicated by asphaltene-resin-paraffin deposits. These are the most expensive facilities in terms of maintenance since they require additional attention and control. Their operation periodically leads to centrifugal pump failures and other accidents, resulting in lower production rates. For this reason, the company lost more than 250 million rubles last year alone. Modernization was required for the tubing - the main supporting element of the electric centrifugal pump unit, which directly lifts oil to the surface in the well.
“Since 2020 we have been using an effective technology - instead of standard tubing, we put a counterpart with an internal polymer coating (TIPC), which resists the formation of deposits and equipment clogging. But with the lapse of time, its quality declines and the problems and losses return. In case of failure-free pipe use within 7 years technologists need to pull them out of wells for a scheduled inspection. Today in the process of repair or preventive maintenance the assessment of coating's suitability is done by the specialist of the Oil and Gas Production Shop with the help of visual inspection only. That means I go to the wellhead for the inspection, where the team works, look into the 10-meter pipe, and with my own eyes determine whether the inner surface of the tubing is flawed or not and whether it's good for service. To put it mildly, the reliability of this method is questionable. That's why I came to the conclusion that it is necessary to develop a device that will make quality diagnostics of the coating in an automated mode,” says Maxim Kishchenko, senior geologist of the oil and gas production department of RN-Yuganskneftegaz.
Several related fields - for main oil pipelines, in drill pipes, and production string - have already coped with this task, so a technology that would allow reasonable rejection of coated tubing was long overdue.
The young specialist suggested a device called ROSSKAN, the principle of operation of which is based on a combination of magnetic and ultrasonic diagnostics, as well as acoustic-emission control. The magnetic method is based on the registration of changes in the direction of magnetic induction flow. At that, areas of increased magnetization appear above the defect. The ultrasonic method is based on the precise measurement of the transit time of the sound pulse through the material. Due to this combination, maximum sensitivity to damage detection is achieved.
"Conducting defectoscopy is reduced to placing the device into a pipe horizontally lying on the bridges and its movement by gravity with the help of adjustable diametrical rollers when one end of the TIPC is lifted. The ROSSCAN monitor then displays the detected damage and a ready-made report on the suitability of the object for operation. The faulty pipes will not be released, which will ensure the safe lifting of oil to the surface. The economic efficiency is 42 million rubles in the first year, which can be used, for example, to buy almost one thousand new NCPs. Cumulatively - 189 million rubles over 5 years or more than 3 thousand pipes," says the young specialist.
By now he has become one of the leaders at the regional stage of the scientific and technical conference organized by Rosneft. Winning the all-Russian round will ensure the attention of the company's management to the project and the possibility to implement the idea in the production process.
Maxim Kishchenko was born in Nefteyugansk and, like most locals, saw himself in the oil industry since childhood. However, proximity to the West Siberian fields does not yet ensure a place in the main production division of Rosneft, which accounts for about 30% of the company's total production.
The first step was enrollment in the Rosneft-Class, which is the initial stage of the School-University-Enterprise training system. It is aimed at solving the problem of a shortage of qualified engineers in the country’s mineral resource complex and is used by many corporations. Students in grades 10 and 11 study in-depth the exact sciences, meet with representatives of core professions and go on production trips, where they get acquainted with oil production and treatment facilities.
The graduates then write an Olympiad, based on the results of which the most talented of them are admitted to leading raw materials universities on a quota basis.
“In 2012 the St. Petersburg Mining University for four Rosneft-classes in my region allocated 35 places for targeted training. Good results allowed me to enter the specialty ‘Operation and maintenance of oil production facilities’ and I came to St. Petersburg. The university amazed me! I participated in various forums, case championships, went for an internship at the Belarusian institute BNTU and visited the BELAZ plant. In the laboratories of Mining University, we studied the physics of oil and gas reservoirs, simulated field development using advanced software, and practiced well repair on simulators. In several specialized classrooms where students do their laboratory work, the university's researchers research on behalf of the country's largest oil companies,” says Maxim.
At university, the young man became interested in organic deposits of the paraffin type in oil wells, and as a result, he devoted his dissertation to this topic.
After receiving his master’s degree, he decided to serve in the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. He got into a science company. Military units of this kind work on the basis of various research institutes and military universities. In particular, Maxim Kishchenko conducted research on increasing the efficiency of the process of heating and discharging viscous oil products in low temperatures in the walls of the Khrulov Military Academy of Material and Technical Support. That is, he did not even have to move from Vasilievsky Island. Being a serviceman, he wrote 20 scientific articles, took part in international and Russian forums, and one of his projects won a contest of the Foundation for Assistance to Innovations with. As the saying goes, he who seeks will always find.
Three years after graduating from Mining University, the senior geologist at RN-Yuganskneftegaz continues to work on paraffin deposits and methods of combating them. Although, he does it on a different level. Of course, not every innovation proposed by the beginners will be implemented. Some proposals fail to pass experts’ scrutiny based on the ratio “spent resources - expected benefit.” The implementation of approved ideas takes time.