Salym is translated from Khanty as “created” or “reborn”. The pipeliners who borrowed this term from the indigenous peoples as the name for their pumping station seemed to have programmed its destiny.
The power supply system has been totally revamped at this station
Nostalgia for Youth
The Salym line operation dispatcher station (LODS) run by Transneft Siberia is getting ready to celebrate its 50-year anniversary. Construction of its first oil pumping station on the Ust-Balyk – Omsk oil trunk pipeline was completed in 1971. This station had been engaged in oil transportation for thirty years until it was switched into a safe state in 2001.
In 1975, the new Salym-2 PS was launched on the Ust-Balyk – Kurgan – Ufa – Almetievsk oil pipeline. The Salym-3 PS was put into operation in 1978 after the Nizhnevartovsk – Kurgan – Kuybyshev oil pipeline had been launched. And in 1980, the Salym-4 PS began pumping the black gold through the Surgut – Polotsk export pipeline. Today, these three stations are fully loaded.
Denis Leonchenko took charge of the Salym LODS in 2016, with experience in operating pipeline transport facilities in Eastern Siberia. The whole thing began in 2001, when Mr. Leonchenko was employed at the Tulun oil pumping station – 3,000 km east of Salym.
Twenty years ago, Denis had to make a difficult choice. The enterprise where he worked as chief power engineer was going through hard times, fading in his eyes. Looking into the future, Leonchenko decided to change his occupation, having mastered the pumpman’s trade and then switched for the oil pipeline industry. He was employed by the Tulun PS. Several years later the specialist who put his best foot forward was proposed the job of petroleum products pumping station operator. Then a new proposal came: to take part in the construction of the new Eastern Siberia-Pacific Ocean pipeline system. This was an awesome challenge.
This is how Denis found himself in the midst of the Yakutian boreal forest at the construction site of the future Talakan PS. The power engineer to the bone, he was entrusted with the commissioning and maintenance of the new station’s power equipment. Later, he was also involved in expanding the ESPO pipeline system. Despite his engineer’s status, Denis never shunned assembling the equipment with tools in his hands on a par with blue collars.
The selfless effort of the head of the power equipment servicing site at the Talakan PS was celebrated by the management of Transneft. In December 2014, at a special event marking the completion of ESPO expansion, Mr. Leonchenko was handed commendation from President of Transneft.
Rebirth of Salym
Denis admits that four years of his work at the Salym LODS never seemed long. Sometimes he has a feeling that he arrived from Talakan just yesterday. So pressed is the time! And so many things have already been done!
Since 2016, they’ve already replaced six mainline pump units and eight electric motors with all treating iron, auxiliary power supply, forced-air booster ventilation, lube oil supply and cooling systems, as part of the technical upgrading and revamping programme implemented by Transneft Siberia. These huge units served faithfully and reliably for several decades, passing diagnostics, routine repairs and overhauls on a regular basis.
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, extended turnaround cycles and service life.
A significant amount of work has also been performed at oil trunk pipelines in recent years. They replaced a section of the Ust-Balyk – Kurgan – Ufa – Almetievsk pipeline and relaid the underwater crossing over the Bolshoi Salym River in the area of responsibility of the Salym LODS. They also renewed the route overhead electric power transmission line and pipeline cathodic protection from corrosion. They laid out more than a hundred kilometers of wood strip road, ensuring the all-season passage along the route.
The station’s power system was thoroughly modernised as well. An indoor switchgear was built and outfitted with state-of-the-art equipment. Oil-immersed transformers were replaced with more reliable and easier to operate vacuum-deposited ones. An automated system of electric power metering was implemented. Overhead cable trays and current conductors were replaced; lightening masts and cost-efficient LED lighting were installed.
Thermal generating units were modernised in the boiler house heating Sivys-Yakh among other facilities, with new burners installed to reduce fuel consumption by 40%. The heating pipe main was relaid: now all pipes have foam polyurethane thermal insulation. Accordingly, heat losses are now minimised. Before the beginning of the heating season they plan to finish the assembly of a fume stack from stainless steel.
They also raised a new household module at the station. Besides a firehouse, plumber’s shop and storerooms, the module also accommodates locker rooms, shower cabins and break rooms. They built a shift camp with all amenities and remodeled a canteen. Generally speaking, maximum comfort for workers was provided.
The station itself that staggers imagination with perfect cleanness and order has got notably prettier too. Denis admits that beautification was basically the first thing he did upon assuming the office of LODS head. This is a swampy terrain so one of the headaches to be addressed was drainage. With this purpose in mind we laid sewers and built a wastewater pump station. Today you can see lawns and asphalt here. This was handmade by the people who feel sincere affection for their trade and their station which is like a second home for them. Many of them are second-generation or even third-generation oil pipeliners.
This is how labour dynasties get started.
Almost the entire conscious life of Vladimir Shumeyko, Head of the Mechanical and Technological Equipment Maintenance Section, has been somehow connected with the station. He began his career as a fire engine driver more than 20 years ago. His father and uncle who also worked at the Salym LODS were his role models. His wife Natalya also works here at the station as a boiler house operator. His daughter Maria who has graduated from Tyumen Industrial University this year will be employed as a petroleum products pumping station operator at the Salym-2 PS.
There are quite a few dynasties working here. For example, Aleksey Alzhikov works as a line pipeliner, his wife Evelina is a senior operator of the Salym LODS’ control centre and his brother Vyacheslav is a driver. This dynasty was originated by his uncle Nikolay Vilkov who had worked as a carpenter at the station till retirement.
The incumbent Head of the Salym LODS Denis Leonchenko is another originator of a labour dynasty. His wife works at the mechanical and technological equipment maintenance section. And his son studies at Tyumen Industrial University, majoring in oil pipeline transportation.
The work of Head of the Salym LODS goes with a swing. It’s not accidental that a year ago, in the run-up to the next Oil and Gas Industry Workers’ Day, Denis became a winner of the Black Gold of Yugra district contest. Aleksey Zabozlayev, Deputy Governor of Khanty-Mansi Autonomous District – Yugra, pointed out while handing the much-deserved award that it is such specialists, true masters of their trade, that have always led and still lead their colleagues, ensuring uninterrupted production, transportation and refining of hydrocarbons.