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New ideas from Transneft’s fledgling specialists

Date of publication: 21 March 2018 Printable version

Nobody knows who had a harder time at the 2nd International Transneft Youth Science and Technology Conference: the engineers presenting their projects or the members of the Contest Committee.

Very important work

“Industrial, fire and environmental safety, occupational health” is one of the seven sections at the second stage of the 2nd (14th) International Youth Science and Technology Conference of Transneft and members of the International Association of Oil Transporters. The event took place in Tyumen at the end of last week.

Each of the 26 participants passed elimination rounds in one of the 15 entities of the Russian oil pipeline system, was lauded by their senior colleagues, and rose to the next level.

As a result, the Contest Committee led by Andrey Zaitsev, Director of the Occupational, Industrial, Fire, and Environmental Safety Department at Transneft, considered 23 research works (some of them prepared by tandems of young engineers).

Theoretical knowledge gained at universities blended with hands-on experience in the projects proposed by the participants: a novice’s perspective, given that the contestants have so far had limited experience in the industry, allows to see the status quo differently. And while all operating activities of Transneft are carried out in accordance with the approved rules and regulations, the search for new approaches or more rational solutions is not only encouraged, but sometimes becomes an occasion for changing the established rules.

Andrey Zaitsev, Chairman of the Contest Committee, and Rivkhat Aptrazakov, Chief Engineer of Transneft Siberia, speaking at the opening ceremony, emphasized the importance of professional activity of young engineers. According to their words, it’s hard to overestimate the importance of complying with the standards of industrial and environmental safety, occupational health requirements and fire safety standards at all of the Company’s production facilities; therefore, the efforts of the experts in this segment is one of the key elements of occupational and environmental safety for the entire nation.

Quite often research projects of this section’s participants are highly assessed at the third stage of the contest, where the focus is shifted from specific trades to the significance of a work for the entire industry. In 2014, the project of creating a mariculture for sanitary and commercial purposes in Kozmino Bay was awarded a third degree diploma at Transneft, but was honored with the first prize at the International Competition of Scientific, Technical, and Innovative Developments for the Development of the Fuel, Energy and Extractive Industries.

15 minutes and you are a winner!

As per the contest rules, a contestant is only given 15 minutes: seven minutes to present the report plus eight minutes to answer the questions from the contest committee members. Being the first to speak is, of course, a challenge. This year it was the lot of Artem Bakhtoyarov and Evgeny Ryabenko of Giprotruboprovod. The name of their work hardly means anything for the uninitiated, but it is important for environmental safety, because it puts the limelight on state-of-the-art technologies in oily waste treatment. The young engineers stood their ground under a barrage of questions from the contest committee members, whose keen interest showed that the work had potential.

Pavel Bogdanov from Transneft North faced a more daunting challenge: while the jury asked just as many questions, he had to answer them all alone. Pavel passed the test with dignity as his idea is a solution to the situation which is hard to handle in real life within the time limit set by the government.

“The relevance of my work is caused by the existing need to be able to contain an emergency oil spill on the water surface within 4 hours at the most,” Pavel explains. “For instance, an emergency can occur in the wintertime at a long distance from a manned facility and in foul weather. This means we need a method which would work in the absence of man.”

Pavel proposes setting up wooden booms at the rivers, which will freeze into the river’s ice cover in the beginning of the freezing period and serve as the first level of protection in case of an emergency.

Andrey Shangin, a fire response engineer from the Uray Oil Trunk Pipeline Directorate of Transneft Siberia, was the last but one to speak. He suggested his own solution for cleaning the inside of fire extinguishing system pipelines.

“Technical maintenance and testing of the fire-extinguishing units may reveal rust and scale buildup inside pipelines,” Andrey explains. “This results in filter clogging, which leads to lowered efficiency of firefighting system at best. In the worst-case scenario it is fraught with system failure.”

Andrey, who has been working with the Fire Safety Division for over three years now, has developed and tested a scraper cleaning the inner walls of pipelines.

Evgeny Plesovskikh, Head of the Fire Safety Division of Transneft Siberia, gave the following review after getting acquainted with the invention of the Uray engineer: “The given device can be recommended for use”, noting that no extra outlay was required for scraper production.

Rating the project at nine points (with 10 points being the maximum rate), the reviewer did not suspect that he was holding in his hands the winner’s work. The contest committee awarded a diploma of the first degree to Andrey’s project.

Ironically, the report honored with the second prize followed the report of Mr. Shangin and was the last one. Its author, Victoria Shchetnikova from Transneft Western Siberia, had not known that an entire research institute was already working on the same problem before she came to Tyumen. Victoria’s work is titled “Security Procedures and Process Activities in the Course of Fuel Combustion in Boilers to Improve Technical and Economic and Environmental Performance”. This topic grew out of the Master’s thesis Ms. Shchetnikova defended in 2017 at Siberian Federal University.

In her application for the contest Victoria mentioned her personal contribution: “I studied the properties of crude oil and water emulsion, conducted an experiment, selected equipment, developed an implementation scheme and calculated the economic impact.” It was the study of the crude oil and water emulsion properties that brought her to the conclusion that when the mixture burns, there is less material left unconsumed, which allows to reduce air polluting emissions.

This is not the only benefit of the idea of the recent postgraduate. Using crude oil and water emulsion will enhance energy efficiency of fuel.

Vitaly Shabelnikov, Head of the Environmental Safety and Rational Nature Management Section of Transneft Siberia, gave an extremely favourable review of Shchetnikova’s work, noting its relevance and high economic efficiency: “Capital investments needed to alter the crude oil and water emulsion preparation technology were calculated, with fuel savings reaching 5 to 7%. Capital investments are expected to pay off after as little as half a year or, depending on the amount of consumed fuel, in 2 years, no longer.”

Incidentally, Victoria сalculated the economic effect on her own, since she also has a degree in Economics.

Victoria’s project shared 2nd place with the report of Alexey Bonkin and Konstantin Zorin (from Transneft Kama Region) on the subject “Development of an automated key release system for production premises and electrical installations.”

If it were only possible…

The contest committee chairman Andrey Zaitsev confessed before announcing the results: if it were up to him, he’d award a dozen of first place diplomas, since there were many interesting, useful and strong works. It is for this reason that the committee members took so long to arrive at the consensus. Eventually, it was a matter of several hundredths of one point.

“It’s not the first time that I am on the committee and I can say that the level of projects presented keeps rising with each passing year,” Mr. Zaitsev noted. “This year the works dig deep. More than half of them need to be further elaborated with an eye on their future implementation.”

Andrey Shangin, Victoria Shchetnikova, Alexey Bonkin and Konstantin Zorin, the second stage winners, will take part in the third round of the contest, which will be hosted by Transneft Kama Region in Kazan on 28–31 May 2018.

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