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President of Transneft Nikolay Tokarev: We feel the trust of our partners and their determination to cooperate in the future

Date of publication: 26 June 2019

Head of the Russian pipeline monopoly has shared the results of the meeting of the Governing Board of the International Association of Oil Transporters.

Participants of the eleventh meeting of the Governing Board of the International Association of Oil Transporters in St. Petersburg (left to right): Martin Šustr (TRANPETROL, Slovakia), Jaroslav Kocián (MERO CR, the Czech Republic), Attila Tóth (MOL, Hungary), Dragan Kovačević (JANAF, Croatia), Dimash Dossanov (KazTransOil, Kazahstan), Nikolay Tokarev (Transneft, Russia), Martin Ružinský (TRANSPETROL, Slovakia), Oleg Borisenko (Gomeltransneft Druzhba, Belarus), Nikolay Gavrilenko (Ukrtransnafta, Ukraine), Ling Xiao (Petrochina, China)

On 20 June 2019, St. Petersburg hosted the eleventh meeting of the Governing Board of the International Association of Oil Transporters (IAOT) comprised of European and Asian pipeline companies. Twice a year members of this professional club meet to exchange experience, discuss general problems and find ways of their solution. KP interviewed President of Transneft Nikolay Tokarev, who commented on the results of the meeting.

Influential Association

Mr Tokarev, a regular meeting of the Governing Board of the International Association of Oil Transporters has just finished in St. Petersburg. What are the results?

Above all, I’d like to mention that during six years since its foundation, the Association has achieved a lot, increasing its geographical reach and membership. Our joint effort resulted in creating a discussion platform for constructive deliberation on relevant issues of the industry’s development and for engagement in the format of permanent expert groups. The Association has become an influential actor in oil transportation.

Among the topics discussed in St. Petersburg I’d mention a fruitful exchange of opinions about joint exhibition activities contributing to wider contacts and higher standing of the IAOT. Together we promote our competences in the global market. One example is successful experience of analysing the practice of the Association’s members in the area of energy efficiency. The matter regards reduction of costs and, therefore, higher competitiveness of our companies.

We also presented to our colleagues one of our subsidiaries, Transneft UW Service, that inspects and repairs underwater crossings on trunk pipelines. Several figures make a convincing case for significance of this work: Transneft operates about 1,500 underwater crossings of water barriers, with the total length in excess of 3,200 km. The total width of water barriers crossed is 300 km.

Among other results I’d also mention our Company’s initiative for creating a permanent expert group at the IAOT for efficient, reliable and safe operation of oil trunk pipelines. We hope to discuss this topic in detail at our next meeting in Almaty (Kazakhstan) this September.

Do you expect further expansion of the IAOT?

We do not see mandatory extensive growth as an objective. Meanwhile, the Association’s growing international influence attracts other companies of our industry from different regions.

Participation of Croatian delegates from JANAF as invited guests of the recent meeting is also noteworthy.

Did you discuss oil contamination in the Druzhba oil pipeline at the meeting?

This topic is discussed in other negotiation formats. But I’d like to note a highly restrained and constructive response of all our colleagues to this incident. We felt a full measure of their support, trust and determination to cooperate in the future.


Novelties for All

During such meetings, members of the Association share their experience and new developments. At the June meeting, Transneft highlighted its achievements in pipeline inspection and maintenance.

The meeting’s participants also visited the Nevskaya line operation dispatcher station (LODS), situated near Saint Petersburg, where a modern petroleum products loading station opened at the end of last year. About 4,000 tonnes of diesel fuel are handled there every day: eight tank vehicles can be loaded at one time.

Mutual Understanding

The International Association of Oil Transporters (IAOT) was founded in 2013 at the initiative of the Czech company MERO CR. Initially, the Association’s member list included the companies that operate the Druzhba pipeline. Around 50 million tonnes of Russian oil are annually delivered to European consumers over the Druzhba’s southern and northern legs. Later on, pipeline operators from Ukraine, Kazakhstan and China joined the professional Association.

The 11th meeting of the IAOT Governing Board was organised by its Russian member Transneft. In his address, President of Transneft Nikolay Tokarev pointed out that the Association was continuously evolving, as new areas for collaboration kept emerging.  This year, the criminal contamination of the Druzhba with organic chlorides has put the alliance’s cohesion to the test.

The head of Transneft thanked his colleagues for their understanding and help in addressing this issue. The resumption of “clean” Russian oil supplies to the satisfaction of European consumers became possible due to the concerted effort and mutual understanding of all IAOT members.

Shared Interest

In the words of Ferenc Péterfalvi, Head of Pipeline Operations at MOL (Hungary), the idea of founding the Association proved brilliant. Its members operate similar pipeline systems and can exchange their experience. The IAOT now has the opportunity to promote its knowledge in the global market, making profits.

One common project is the method for energy efficiency benchmarking, capable of identifying a potential for electric energy savings. The problem of cutting electric power consumption is highly relevant for all transporters, as the pumping of crude oil and petroleum products requires a lot of power. For instance, Transneft consumes ca. 1.3% of all electric energy generated in Russia. Vice President of Transneft Pavel Revel-Muroz recounted the results of joint effort in this area: the method developed by the IAOT enabled the Association’s members to cut their specific electricity consumption in 2018 by 2.8% year-on-year.

As was noted by Deputy Director General of Slovakia-based TRANSPETROL Szilárd Szedlár, this service sparks great interest among specialised companies across the world. The IAOT presents the method for energy efficiency benchmarking at specialised international exhibitions and conferences. For example, it was demonstrated at the 14th Pipeline Technology Conference and Exhibition in Berlin in the spring of 2019; following this show, a number of companies requested benchmarking of their specific facilities.

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