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Mugen LODS: almost half a century in service

Date of publication: 20 August 2020

Ensuring the reliable operation and environmental safety of oil trunk pipelines in challenging climatic and natural conditions is one of the key priorities for Tyumen oil pipeliners.

New drain pipe leak cleaning system at Mugen LODS

For this purpose, systematic modernisation of crude oil pipeline transport is carried out at operating facilities. The Mugen line operation dispatcher station, one of the oldest in Transneft Siberia’s system, exemplifies this approach. The Mugen LODS will celebrate its half-century anniversary completely renewed.

Snake Mount

The word “Mugen” is translated from Khanty as “snake mount”. There’s a decent number of snakes here even now. Let alone the late 1960s, when the Ust-Balyk - Omsk oil pipeline construction commenced in the midst of impassable swampland.  Prior to that first Tyumen crude had been transported to Omsk Refinery over the Irtysh river in barges by paddle tugs (quite like in the prewar film Volga - Volga).

Construction works in the midst of perennial taiga and bogs kicked off in winter 1965. This was the second 1,020-mm pipeline following the Druzhba pipeline. One of the pioneers Anatoly Grigoryev who then worked as foreman of a welding area at Nefteprovodmash that had arrived from Bashkiria, recalls a night talk at the campfire. One of the veteran welders reasoned: “Is there so much crude oil in the Arctic regions indeed? For it won’t take long until it is pumped over such a pipe, I mean all of it. What shall we do next?” His colleague who had been through a lot noted: “See how much peat here all around! We’ll then pump this peat over the pipe.” More than half a century has been lapsed since then, but crude is still here.

Builders took fancy to the “snake mount”. They first dwelled in shacks brought over a winter road. They were transported to the trunk line by helicopters or swamp buggies. The first residential house was built here in 1971 after the Mugen-1 oil pumping station had been commissioned. This is how a settlement bearing the enigmatic name of Mugen took shape. Everything here, including a nursery school, a secondary school and a gym, shop and vegetable storehouse, bakery and feldsher-midwife station, had been built by oil pipeliners. The latter also participated in voluntary cleanups every Saturday to put things in perfect order in their settlement.

Today the Mugen LODS integrates four PS pumping crude day and night over the Ust-Balyk – Omsk, the Ust-Balyk – Kurgan – Ufa – Almetievsk, the Nizhnevartovsk – Kurgan – Kuybyshev and the Surgut – Polotsk pipelines east and west.

His own boss

Fyodor Deylid, current Head of the Mugen LODS, literally grew up on the “pipe”. As far back as he can remember, all family talks boiled down to the operation of oil pipelines. No wonder, given that his father and uncle - Anatoly and Sergey Deylid - worked at the Tobolsk Oil Trunk Pipeline Directorate.

His father rose through the ranks from fuel tanker driver to head of the utility vehicle and special-purpose machinery department. His brother who had long been in charge of oil pipeline operation retired from the position of Deputy Head of the Directorate for Commodity and Transport Operations. Almost all of their lifetime has been dedicated to the trunk line.

Drama theatre had been Fyodor’s passion since early years. Yet his family did not support his idea of entering a drama school, thinking it too frivolous. Fyodor did not argue with his loved ones and entered Tyumen Oil and Gas University, majoring in “gas and oil pipeline and storage tank operation”.

After serving in the army, Fyodor was unsurprisingly employed by the Tobolsk OTPD as foreman of the emergency line maintenance division at the Setovo LODS. In 2010, after toughening up in the field, he was appointed as engineer of the oil pipeline operation section at the Tobolsk Directorate.

Three years ago, the engineer who showed his worth was offered the post of Deputy Director at the Mugen station. In the back of beyond amidst the boreal forest and swamps, 280 km to the north of his hometown Tobolsk.

Already one year and a half later, upon the retirement of Mugen’s Head, Mr. Deylid took the lead of the station. He had just turned 29. Mugen abounds in such young, promising and spirited successors to family dynasties of oil pipeliners.

Second birth

It’s these young guys who actually have to build this station anew. Since autumn 2017, they’ve already replaced six mainline pump units with electric motors, all treating iron, auxiliary power supply, ventilation, oil supply and cooling systems at the Mugen LODS, as part of the technical upgrading and revamping programme of Transneft Siberia. These huge units have faithfully served, so to say, since the 1970s. Surely, under the supervision of specialists who regularly performed their diagnostics and maintenance.

The new pumps and high-voltage electric motors surpass their predecessors in that they have a much higher performance coefficient, energy efficiency and cost effectiveness, turnaround cycles and service life.

The first in Transneft Siberia experimental oiling system for the cooling and lubrication of MLP bearings, proposed by participants of the Transneft research and practice youth conference. All containers of this oiling system were concreted and “buried” underground alongside immersion pumps. Left on the surface are very few pipelines with shutoff valves unlike the traditional oiling system placed below the ground level.

The boiler house heating the entire settlement, among other things, has been upgraded as well. Three more powerful thermal generating units have replaced five overage boilers. And if earlier they had to fire up four boilers during the frosts, one boiler was more than enough in the past winter.

Quite a short time ago they commissioned new crude leak suction and cleaning systems at two oil pumping stations. Erstwhile 400-m3 tanks for skimmed crude storage and high-pressure release containers were replaced by five underground 100-m3 tanks with high pressure suction pumps and pipeline surge relief systems at each PS. This up-to-date equipment enhanced operational reliability of the station as well as environmental safety during routine repairs of pumps.

And just the other days a new 46-km section of the Ust-Balyk – Kurgan – Ufa – Almetievsk oil trunk pipeline was connected. Furthermore, 47 km of electric power transmission lines were replaced in the responsibility area of the Mugen LODS on the OTP.

The assembly of an automated control system will soon be finished at the Mugen-4 PS attending to the Surgut – Polotsk oil pipeline. Two dozen of cabinets are complete with microprocessors. After the ACS is commissioned, the number of metered parameters will increase by 1.5 times. Accordingly, the operational reliability of the station equipment and the oil pipeline will be enhanced as well as the level of failure resistance.

The station itself that staggers imagination with perfect cleanness and order has got notably prettier too. After a major overhaul the production facilities were coated with sandwich panels painted in white-blue corporate colours of Transneft. Asphalt was paved in place of old concrete slabs and LED lighting was installed.

Mr. Deylid confides that time spins away during intense work. Three years have lapsed since he first came to Mugen, but it seems as though it was yesterday. The station renewal continues along with life. Everything lies ahead of us!

«Tyumenskiye Izvestiya»
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