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Operating pressure

Date of publication: 28 September 2017 Printable version

Operation of oil pump station (PS) No. 29 of the second phase of Eastern Siberia-Pacific Ocean (ESPO-2) trunk pipeline will start in November. Now a new industrial site near settlement Arkhara in Amur Region is under preparation to commissioning. The specialists just have to apply the finishing touch: individual testing of facilities is conducted and site improvement is being completed.

The new station’s area is equal to 30 hectares, and it looks like an oasis of civilization just in the middle of Amur taiga. Photo by Ivan Bashkarev

According to the plan

- The facility was constructed as part of the first stage of the large-scale investment project of Transneft on increasing the capacity up to 80 million tons a year by 2020. 30 million tons will be exported to the PRC (People's Republic of China), the rest will be transported through ESPO-2 to refineries in Komsomolsk-on-Amur and Khabarovsk, to the future petrochemical complex in Primorie and besides, to Kozmino Port for shipping to Asia-Pacific Region countries, - said Timur Iumachikov, head of station No. 29.

The company has to perform a set of difficult works, which are called “extension” here. Four new PS (three PS will be constructed besides PS-29: two in Amur Region and one in Jewish Autonomous Region), and further revamping of stations in Khabarovsk and Primorie Territories play a valuable role in it.

- Construction of oil pump station No. 29 started in August 2015. 300 persons were involved in construction of the facility, - said Aleksandr Polishchuk, head of construction site office of Eastern Siberia-Pacific Ocean Project Management Centre, LLC (a subsidiary of Transneft).

More than 30 hectares were occupied by the construction. A main pump station, operator’s room, fire water tanks, wastewater biotreatment stations and fire-fighting stations, as well as many other important facilities securing operation of the pipeline system are located there.

A year ago you could walk here only in water boots, but now you can walk in shoes over the laid road panels, and all the thirty hectares look like an oasis of civilization just in the middle of Amur taiga. Oil is uninterruptedly transported through underground pipes just due to such standard oil transportation workers’ towns.

Safe work

The facilities constructed by Transneft in the Far East are equipped with the most advanced and sometimes even unique equipment. The main pump station at PS-29 consists of four units, efficiency of which is equal to 5.14 thousand cubic metres an hour.

The outdoor switchgear receives voltage of 220 kV. Current is transferred here through overhead transmission lines from Nizhnebureyskaya hydro-electric power station and Arkhara substation. Then it is transformed at two transformers from 220 kV to 10 kV and forwarded to the PS facilities. Until voltage supply started here in the end of August, power was supplied to them from three diesel power plants, one of which is used now as a reserve plant.

Oil transportation workers pay much attention to fire safety. No wonder that one of the first facilities constructed at the new PS was a fire extinguishing pump station. It is equipped with dosing tanks, foam fire-fighting pumps and supplementary water fire-fighting pumps. This station is operated automatically.

- Now we are forming a volunteer fire brigade consisting of five fire-fighters and a driver. Besides, two fire vehicles will be always in the ready mode, - said Sergei Zakharov, head of the site for process equipment maintenance of PS-29.

Environmental impact is also minimized. Domestic sewage goes to the wastewater biotreatment station. After that water will be appropriate for fishery waters.

The leakage detection system at the pipeline is thought out to the last detail. They say in the company: a good oil transportation worker is that who does not see oil while working at all.

- Our system is closed: the oil received to the pipe does not come out of it until it reaches its point of destination, - said Timur Iumachikov.

Besides, the oil pipeline is protected with a special optical fiber cable. It is laid along the whole pipeline, in close proximity to it, and reacts even to the smallest ground vibration and ground temperature changes, and then it compares indices at the real facility with standard ones and transfers the information to a dispatcher.

Safety of employees is a special topic. For example, all the employees have to wear certified work clothes. Electrical fitters wear clothes protecting from fire and electrical arc. Their helmets have voltage sensors sending a signal in case of approaching a working electrical plant.

Personnel - on camera

Even the ultramodern equipment means nothing without persons operating it. The oil transportation company places stake only on responsible and competent professionals. 64 persons will work at PS-29; half of them have already been employed and most of them are residents of Arkharinsky District. Mainly line pipeliners, electrical fitters and engineers are required here. The staff should be recruited to the full extent by October. Work with Transneft is prestigious, several persons claim for every vacancy.

- Potential employees attend a medical examination, meet with HR managers. Some of employees are graduates of the local energy workers’ school. Obligatory further education courses are provided for all the specialists. Besides, in the nearest future we are going to train our future employees in local schools. The next year we will help to equip exact sciences classrooms, - said Timur Iumachikov.

He came to Amur Region from Tyumen. His family came with him and his fourth child was born in the Far East.

- We like this place, and my family members call Amur Region their home now. Arkhara is a big settlement; there are classes and worthy schools here, - said Iumachikov.

An operator controlling the industrial process, and an electrical fitter on duty will be at the station for 24 hours. These employees work on shift basis, other employees have eight-hour workday.

The PS employees live in Akhara; they will go to work by bus. A 16-apartment house has been constructed for those in need of housing. A new building with a children's playground and a recreational area was constructed just in the centre of the settlement. Now only half of the apartments are occupied. It is the 14th official house of Transneft in Amur Region; the other houses have been constructed in Skovorodino, Shimanovsk, Ekaterinoslavka and Belogorsk. Besides, a residential complex for employees in business trips has been constructed near the PS.

The station can be called a driver for the whole region’s development. First of all, the enterprise pays taxes to the local budget. Secondly, it allocates money for support of the nursery school, the library and the integrated population social service centre. It has a traditional effect: large-scale plans of Transneft are positively reflected on many people’s lives.

For reference

ESPO-2 system, operated by Transneft Far East, connects oil fields of Eastern and Western Siberia with Kozmino terminal. Its length is more than two thousand kilometres and it passes through four regions of the Far East: Khabarovsk and Primorie Territories, Amur Region and Jewish Autonomous Region. This project specifies development of infrastructure of remote areas and joins economic interests of different regions.

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