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Common Cause: Across Generations

Date of publication: 19 August 2021

The continuity of generations is a common thing in the oil pipeline industry. How could it be otherwise? Love for the trade and the Company that treasures each employee is inherited by children and grandchildren from their fathers.

Transneft Siberia also supports succession because every new representative of a dynasty, looking up to his or her father or mother, knows from school-days what kind of work he or she will do at the Company. And Transneft Siberia encourages youngsters to master a chosen trade to continue the parents’ legacy.

Zhebek was the first oil pipeliner in the Abeldinov family. She came to the oil pipeline transport industry back in 1978 as an auxiliary worker at the Torgili oil pumping station, to be cheered several decades later as a dynasty progenitor.

Zhebek Abeldinova

Zhebek has already retired. But she started the history. The Torgili oil pumping station sprang up in the locality where a collective farm’s herd was grazing in her childhood – the grandchildren of the Kazakh exiled to Siberia dwelled in the village of Miyagi, just two kilometers away from the station.

The girl who was dreaming of the medical doctor’s career but twice failed to pass the competition barrier of the Tyumen Medical Institute came to work at the station as an assistant labourer. Four years later, the girl who showed her worth as a responsible employee was transferred to the Human Resources Section. It did not take long for sociable Zhebek to settle in, and several years later she already helmed the Section. She admits that her dream of practising medicine lasted long, even though she majored in another trade first at college and then at the industrial institute. Caring for people seems to be in her blood. She does not treat them just as human resources. That's probably why Abeldinova was reelected as Chairperson of the Torgili Trade Union Committee for many years in a row.

She passed all development stages and several revamping endeavours with the station. She started out when the HR officer didn't even have a separate office. But gradually everyday routine improved for pipeliners. The station turned into an advanced operating facility with cutting-edge equipment and technologies.

“We’ve always had a nice team,” Zhebek recalls. “During the formative years, many fledgling specialists came from different places. It was fun for me to work with them. I told them how to take sick and maternity leaves, apply for a vacation or get a spa voucher, and just introduced them to the station, settlement and the city of Tyumen. In the meantime, I learned about living in other cities like Samara, Tomsk or others.”

Many of those who came at that time decided to stay.  Gradually there came the time when no vacancies were left at the station and people willing to work there were lining up.

Zhebek’s key trait is caring for people. One of the memorable moments for her was the period of construction on the Eastern Siberia – Pacific Ocean pipeline system (ESPO PS) with the length exceeding 4,700 km. The entire Transneft team was involved in this construction project, including a crew from Transneft Siberia and some Torgili LODS’ employees. Specialists would go on long-term assignments lasting several months at a time. Zhebek Abeldinova called the construction site to help resolve issues regarding the working routine, everyday life in the field camp and others seemingly unrelated to HR, but important for the workers.

Zhebek retired at the age of 56; by that time, her track record at Transneft Siberia had reached the enviable 36 years.

“The years have gone by quickly and the time came for me to retire,” says Zhebek with a chuckle. “During this time, Torgili and other business units of our Tyumen OTPD employed my brother Kazhekhmet, my nephew Ruslan Abeldinov, my nieces Asel Kuzenbaeva and Aizhan Bikchantaeva as well as my husband Seremzhan Muldagaliev. All of them are responsible, disciplined, hard-working people, and I am not ashamed of any of them. Ruslan is Electrical Equipment Repair and Maintenance Fitter at the PE SS of the Torgili LODS. Aizhan works at the same place as a petroleum products pumping station operator, and she’s a mother of two. Incidentally, she met her future husband at our station. Like my brother, my husband is a processing units repairman; he has been working here since 2004.

Zhebek has been awarded commendations from Transneft, Ministry of Energy of the Russian Federation, and she’s a labour veteran. She lives in the flat she received from the Company as an industry veteran, in the city of Tyumen. But even in retirement she is true to her life philosophy and keeps on helping people; she works in a remedial school as an assistant for vision-impaired children.

Kazhekhmet Abeldinov

Kazhekhmet is Zhebek’s sibling. After school, he entered an agricultural college and was conscripted into the army with a degree in agronomy. He served in the Border Guard at the Nakhodka sea port checkpoint. He was awarded a diploma signed by the chairman of the KGB of the USSR for his excellent service (Kazhekhmet served in 1986-1988).

By his return from the army, the agricultural industry was in decay, so the agronomist had to look for work in a different field. He has seen a lot in his life working as a carpenter and concrete worker, a state farm agronomist and seed grower, as well as PE teacher.

In 1995, he joined the Torgili LODS as a Level II shooter at the warehouse security team. He knew from Zhebek who had worked for quite some time at the Torgili LODS that the oil pipeliner facility was stable with good jobs and wages.

Zhebek told him about austere discipline at the station, high demands on the exterior of facilities and order. This could not scare Kazhekhmet away as he was used to orderliness and had respect for discipline, as well as for anything new. Kazhekhmet worked six years in the station’s security team. At some point, he came to realise that security was not an area he wanted to be involved in during his entire career. Since his early years he had been drawn to technology; he liked to fix various things and find the reason for their malfunction. So, no wonder that Kazhekhmet changed his trade and was retrained as a fitter. In 2008, he came back to the Torgili LODS as a processing units repairman. He currently holds the highest 6th grade; yet Kazhekhmet Abeldinov is constantly learning like many of his colleagues.

Theoretical and hands-on training is conducted in the training centre of Transneft Siberia and crowned with a credit awarded for hearing a new course.

“Once in three years we pass retraining at the Tyumen Oil Pipeline College,” Abeldinov specifies. “We always have something to learn as new equipment comes in and we have to get familiar with its characteristics; revamping is going on as the oil pipeline industry is making fast progress.”

In 2017, Kazhekhmet’s portrait was entered in the roll of honour at the Tyumen OTPD.

He has gone in for sports since adolescent years; he was a kettlebell-lifter and, as long as this event was part of the Transneft athletic contest, he had always won various prizes.

One of the routine procedures is checking workplace tools and portable equipment which is to be returned to the workshop only after the expert review. One day Kazhekhmet received a certificate of verification conducted by his daughter Asel. He’s very proud of her as he repeatedly gets positive feedback from his colleagues that she’s a competent specialist using contemporary approaches and getting along with people.  Asel has been working at the Tyumen OTPD since graduation from the Tyumen Oil and Gas University in 2013.

Asel Kuzenbaeva

In fact, the first entry in Asel's employment book about working at Torgili dates from June 2011, when the sophomore was hired as a 2nd-grade line pipeliner for a period of her work experience internship.

The daughter of Muslima and Kazhekhmet Abeldinov graduated from school with a gold medal. And she graduated from the university with an average score of 4.7.

"My career choice was deliberate, the oil pipeline transport proved itself as a stable and powerful industry, and I knew from my father and other relatives that there was a good benefits package and a high level of production discipline," says Asel. "It was easy for me to enter the university, and studying there was an exciting experience. I chose "Standardisation and Certification", which was a new area of study for the university, and ours was only the third enrollment. And I didn't miss a beat. I love my work.”

One day Kazhekhmet received a certificate of verification conducted by his daughter Asel.

The girl knew that Transneft Siberia had its own Metrological Division and was sure she would have a bright future as metrology expert. Yet she had to start as an instrumentation and automation fitter. It's a custom in the pipeline industry for university graduates to work first as blue collars.

In 2015, the Chief Instrumentation Engineer’s Division was in need of a certified specialist, and Asel filled that vacancy.

"I like accuracy, I like doing calculations, I love mathematics and have respect for clear algorithms," Kuzenbaeva admits. "I am fond of learning new things, and I have to do it all the time in my position. Change is all around us, new instructions and documents are being constantly developed, and I enjoy studying them and putting them into practice. And I definitely like our team and love my work.”

As an instrumentation engineer, Asel is confident that she too can contribute to the industry’s improvement by suggesting new solutions and ideas. She participated in a conference of the company’s rookies and one of her proposals was implemented.  Asel noticed that there were high ceilings in the utility vehicle and special-purpose machinery department’s premises. In case of fire, the heat sensors installed thereon will get activated when the temperature reaches a high level throughout the premises. But there are flame detectors which will signal much earlier and so the fire can be put out already at the ignition stage.

Any HR officer knows that a company should be proud of its dynasties. After all, when children and grandchildren follow in their parents' footsteps, they are already prepared for the company's demands on workplace discipline, professional skills and knowledge. And these people indeed have something to be proud of: the successes of their children and grandchildren emulating their grandfathers and parents.

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