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Nearly 20 Years on First-Name Terms with Sophisticated Equipment

Date of publication: 11 November 2019

When a classmate invited Aleksandr Anikin to join the team of the Arlet PS at the Udmurt ROPD of Transneft Kama Region, he did not hesitate, not for a minute. This is how the former employee of the Zvezda collective farm became an oil pipeliner in January 1996. He has quite a few decorations for outstanding exploits, including the Transneft Diploma of Merit awarded on the occasion of his company’s anniversary. 

Working in the oil industry was different from his previous occupation and more exciting at that — not only because of the higher and stabler wages. What’s more, the Arlet PS commissioned in 1981 is located in the scenic Igrinsky area of the Udmurt Republic, and Aleksandr has always been fascinated with the nature of his native land since early age.

He began his career in the oil industry as a line pipeliner in a repair crew. Even in those days he was attracted to vehicles, so he would often sit at the steering wheel of a tractor or an all-terrain vehicle. Having realized that he’s on first-name terms with vehicles, he had completed an excavator operation course in Chelyabinsk and became an excavator operator in 2000.

Aleksandr forever remembered his first tie-in at a section of the Kiyengop – Naberezhnye Chelny oil trunk pipeline. “Those working conditions were beyond comparison with what we have today!  There was no modular housing — we had to sleep on two tiers in a bus and to cook our meals in tents using a makeshift stove,” recalls the 48-year-old shovel operator.

Workers used to come home a couple of times in a month between secondments. On one occasion they worked almost two months in Yakutia, building a pipeline to the Pacific Region. Today, however, the living conditions in the field are little different from what one has at home. Comfortable sleeping modules equipped with all essentials, a standalone cafeteria, a shower to wash away the toil of a shift. Nothing can replace the hearth and home filled with the care of loved ones, to be sure. But today oil pipeliners can spend a lot more time with their families. The number of shovel operators has increased and the vehicles are new. The workers are more often engaged at the local section of the Kholmogory — Klin oil pipeline.

Yet the shovel operator’s main skill — pinpoint and calibrated operation of vehicles — has always been extremely valuable. At a tie-in, Aleksandr and his vehicle are one. Braking to a halt at a prescribed 20-cm distance from the pipe, keeping clear of vital components, taking care not to imbog his vehicle, strictly observing all safety requirements during the tie-in works... This has to be done at any time of the day, regardless of rain, heat, sludge or blizzard. Senior workmates — pipeliner Nikolay Sentebov, welder Viktor Glushkov, experienced shovel operator Mikhail Antonov boasting an awesome track record — taught him patience and the secrets of handling his vehicles.

Aleksandr is lucky to work with his current colleagues and management. He speaks warmly and highly about the Head of the Arlet PS Andrey Pasynkov, his aide Andrey Tuymatov, also about Yury Poskrebyshev in charge of the emergency line maintenance division, as well as mechanic Aleksey Pantyukhin. Mr. Anikin appreciates being surrounded by honest and straightforward people, since he values these qualities higher than anything else.

The Arlet PS is the backbone enterprise for Magistralny township. In the mid-1980s four houses each having 16 residential units were commissioned here. Aleksandr lives in one of them with his family. There is also a nursery school and a bakery in this neighborhood. Mr. Anikin has brought up two sons with his spouse who works as a nursery teacher. His older son operates heavy-duty trucks in Agryz and the younger studies at the Izhevsk Institute of Agriculture.

Aleksandr’s ideal recreation is fishing, especially when he’s on leave. His favourite fishing locations is the Kama river and Udmurt rivulets. The fisher’s pride is a 7-kg pike — a winter fishing trophy.

What’s the yardstick for any profession? A teacher’s success is measured by advanced students, a doctor’s success — by cured patients, a shovel operator’s success — by completed tie-ins where he does perfect work as an indispensable link in concerted teamwork. With confidence and precision.

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