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Strike Workforce While It’s Hot!

Date of publication: 30 April 2019

Transneft Far East transports oil via pipelines from Eastern Siberia to domestic refineries and to the final destination, the port of Kozmino, from where “black gold” is exported by sea. It is a new company, which started operating as recently as in 2009. Here, only cutting-edge equipment and innovative technologies are used in the operational process.

At the initial stage, 75 percent of the Company’s employees were not local residents. It’s just that there were no specialists in this field in the Russian Far East at that time. It was decided to improve the situation in the region, and in 2011, departments of Oil and Gas Business welcomed students of Pacific National University (PNU) and Far Eastern State Transport University (FESTU). The establishment of the departments did pay off: now, a few years later, there are 114 FESTU graduates and 71 PNU graduates among the Company’s employees.

“Students entering our university are among those who have scored the highest of the Unified State Exam,” says Lyudmila Nikitenko, Head of the Oil and Gas Business Department at FESTU. “Therefore, these young people are very motivated and willing to work in this sphere. And over the past two years, our graduates have become much in demand. For example, in 2018, 100% of them were employed.
There is close cooperation between the Khabarovsk universities which prepare the workforce and the Company: Transneft regularly gives tours of its operational sites for students, so that they can become familiar with the operations from the inside. They do both undergarduate and pre-degree internships before becoming part of the team.”

This time, students were shown how a huge well-functioning mechanism works - oil pumping station (PS) No. 34 near Galkino Settlement in Khabarovsk Territory, which delivers oil both to the final destination, the port of Kozmino, and to Khabarovsk refinery via an offshoot.

First of all, the future specialists are given branded helmets and led to the outdoor and indoor switchgears, that receive electricity for the station. The oil transportation process is completely automated and cannot be put into action without electricity. It’s explained to students that electrical equipment, as well as other devices, are all duplicated here. Even if something suddenly breaks down, the station will continue functioning.
The next stop of the tour is the operator’s room, the “computer brain” of the PS, which controls all its electronic “organs”. The students immediately notice how many monitors there are here, functioning simultaneously, helping to manage the huge facility.

One of the operator’s room functions, students are told, is the backup of information. Data on operation of all pumps are displayed here. The information is transmitted to other stations through the interface, thus they are interconnected.

“The electronic system’s work is completely based on controllers,” explains Konstantin Nakonechnikov, the head of an automation and telemetry equipment operation unit. “All sensors, and there are about six thousand of them, convert information about operation of all equipment and transfer it to the interface in real time. The automatic fire-extinguishing systems is also connected.”

The mainline pump house makes a great impression on the students. Their eyes light up as soon as they see huge spectacular pumps. Interrupting each other, the students begin to ask Georgy Koryakin, the head of PS No. 34, about different mechanisms’ designs and how they work. 
“During the tour I liked a lot of things, but mainline pump units impressed me the most,” admits Sona Khalilova, a third-year student of the Oil and Gas Business Department at FESTU. “I was impressed by their work and by how large they are, by the number of turns they make and their capacity, the amount of oil that they are able to pump. I would like to work at an oil pumping station, because I have been interested in this industry since I was a child. For me, everything is interesting, including oil composition, the place of extraction, the destination where it is pumped.”

Yet there are other interesting places for the students to visit. Laboratories. A chemical analysis laboratory, where the received oil’s quality is checked according to different parameters before it is transported further, and an environmental analysis laboratory, where they examine water, air and soil samples for impurities and carefully monitor whether oil has contaminated the environment.

By the way, nature confirms the positive results obtained in the laboratory better than any test: there are lotuses growing near the station, and storks, which never inhabit polluted places, have been living here for many years now.
The Company takes care of the environment, releases young fish into water bodies, looks after a yew tree grove in Primorye and monitors the population of the Oriental stork in Khabarovsk Territory together with scientists.

Meanwhile, the young people are asking how to get a job in the laboratory after graduation. As it turns out, many of them are explorers by nature: they are attracted exactly by chemical experiments and research, samples and analysis. Questions are asked one after another: what exactly is needed to become a laboratory assistant here? Vladislav Usenko, a third-year student, wonders if there are any health restrictions.

“In order to become an employee of our laboratory, you need to work as an intern for three years at least,” says Lyubov Marokko, the head of the chemical analysis laboratory at PS No. 34. “It doesn’t mean that you will work without being paid. It just means that you will not be allowed to work independently. A qualified professional will supervise you, and all manipulations with substances and reagents will be carried out strictly under their control.”

As for health restrictions, there are some, as Lyubov Marokko notes. People with any skin diseases, as well as with low hemoglobin, are not allowed to work in the laboratory.

The tour is finished, all students say that they liked the station very much and that it was really exciting.

“We need young specialists,” comments Georgy Koryakin, the head of PS No. 34. “Therefore, we cooperate rather closely with universities, we are constantly welcoming groups of students, giving them tours and arranging internships. Yesterday's graduates who work for us are already showing high results.”

Georgy Koryakin speaks about two girls who were hired a year ago after graduating from FESTU: Valeria Dubchak, a chemical analysis laboratory assistant, and Margarita Razumova, a commodity loading operator. Both girls immediately showed themselves in a good light. This year Margarita will even represent Transneft Far East in a professional skills contest.

Young people are also attracted to the Company by the fact that after being hired they are not left on their own, which can be a bit scary, they are mentored, they are given directions and patient explanations on whatever is not clear. Meanwhile the management is examining new workers. Many of them get promoted from blue-collar positions to technical staff in a rather short period due to their individual qualities. And some of them are even promoted to senior positions.

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