''Listen to your president: oil and gas will be the main sources of energy until the end of this century''

About how brains have become the main problem of oil and gas chemical complex of Russia

''Listen to your president: oil and gas will be the main sources of energy until the end of this century'' Photo: Maksim Platonov

The oil and gas chemical forum opened in Kazan on 4 September. Natural fuel, despite the attempts to lift ''the oil curse'', still plays the leading role in the economy of Tatarstan and Russia. Skeptics who say that the era of oil is over are convinced that in the next 100 years, ''oil, gas, and a little bit of coal will be the main sources of energy''. And the main task is to introduce innovative technologies in this sphere, because we can develop iron, but there is the problem with brains.

''There is no tree beside me, otherwise I would knock''

This year Tatarstan oil and gas chemical forum has been dedicated to the 75th anniversary of the start of industrial oil production in Tatarstan. This date was mentioned by all speakers.

''It is a significant event: we held a big festivity in Almetyevsk a few days ago and today's petrochemical forum is the continuation of it,'' Rustam Minnikhanov congratulated on the opening of the exhibition.

The visit of high-ranking officials tells about the importance of the forum. From the federal officials, there were Head of Rostekhnadzor Alexey Aleshin and Deputy Minister of Energy of Russia Anton Inyutsyn. According to the representative of Rostekhnadzor, now Russia is breaking its oil dependence, but the importance of the industry is still huge, the tasks of ensuring safety at production and processing facilities are important.

Aleksey Aleshin: ''The leadership of Tatarstan pays great attention to security issues''

''As the head of the federal service, which ensures the safety of oil and gas production, I must say that there are more than 1,000 hazardous production facilities associated with oil and gas in Tatarstan, and more than 130 extremely high-risk facilities. So, the leadership of Tatarstan pays great attention to security issues. This year, as well as last year, very few people have suffered at these facilities. I think that today the forum will help to develop new measures that will not only contribute to the efficiency of production and processing of oil and gas, but also ensure the safety of people working at these facilities,'' said Aleshin.

Then journalists asked Aleshin what he thought about safety at the most dangerous production facility in Tatarstan — Kazan Gunpowder Plant. No emergency has happenedat the enterprise this year, which is a pleasant surprise.

''There is no tree beside me, otherwise I would knock, but this year no incidents have occured at the Kazan gunpowder plant. This is not just an accident — a lot is done for this. New technologies are introduced, less manual labour, more controlling electronic systems — all this gives the result. There is still a lot of work, the plant is old, the equipment is old, it is necessary to replace actively,'' Aleshin told.

''That's it, the era of oil is over, oil will cost 7-8 dollars per barrel?''

Deputy Minister of Energy of Russia Anton Inyutsyn said that Tatarstan today is the locomotive and leader of the petrochemical industry and always gathers experts, professionals for discussion and decision-making, which fruitfully affects the development of the industry.

Anton Inyutsin calls the petrochemical complex ''the point of growth, the driver of the economy'' and expects that Russia will be a leader-exporter of relevant products

''Over the past 40 years, the volume of plastics has increased eight times, the production line has expanded hundreds of times. We in Russia set ambitious goals for the next 10 years: to process more than half of the raw materials at our petrochemical complexes, to increase the capacity of our pyrolysis plants by 4,5 times and to increase annual investments by more than 200 billion rubles. We plan to invest about 190 billion rubles in our country by the end of this year,'' said Inyutsin.

He, apparently, does not think that Russia should break its oil dependence, calls the petrochemical complex ''the point of growth, the driver of the economy'' and expects that Russia will be a leader-exporter of relevant products. President of the Union of Oil and Gas Producers of Russia Gennady Shmal called those who believe that the era of oil and gas is over are amateurs.

''Today there have appeared a lot of amateurs positioning themselves as major economists who say: 'That's it, the era of oil is over, oil will cost 7-8 dollars per barrel, there will be a collapse.' I want to say that we are all professionals, you do not listen to amateurs, listen to me, your President Rustam Minnikhanov, our academics — until the end of this century, oil, gas, and a little bit of coal will be the main sources of energy, which means that we have to work very seriously. We have been living under sanctions for 4,5 years, so what? Our oil production has not fallen, gas production has grown, gas exports have grown. Although, of course, some awkward moments, but I think we had tougher times,'' encouraged Schmal.

Let's use gas, everyone: cars, sweepers and even tractors

After the official part, the guests visited the exhibition. The first on the way to the pavilions was a domestic development — the vacuum sweeper car, its peculiarity is that it works on methane. Rustam Minnikhanov asked how much it costs. He was told that 6,8 million, which is 30% cheaper than European counterparts. ''Such machines are very important. Because the road is cleaned, and for sidewalks a cleaner needed,'' Minnikhanov praised the development Minnikhanov.

Then there were serial cars Lada on gas fuel. ''I drove this car yesterday, it is a good car, power is not much different, and saves three times,'' said the president. ''It saves, and emissions are much less,'' Minnikhanov agreed.

Gas, apparently, is so profitable that agricultural machinery use it. The exhibition presented tractors on blue fuel, one filling is enough for a shift.

The undisputable advantage is that the gas, unlike gasoline, is still difficult to drain and dilute. To prevent such frauds with gasoline, Kazan FGUP VNIIR developed the express fuel analyzers, the test samples of which have been sent to Rosstandart. According to the representative of the organization, the bag of completely domestic production worth 200-300 thousand rubles can for 2 minutes check all the types of motor fuel for the main indicators, such as octane, sulphur content, the presence of methane. The devices of the territorial branches of Rosstandart will be used during the inspection of the filling stations.

Gas, apparently, is so profitable that agricultural machinery use it

''We have started the active phase…''

Also, Rustam Minnikhanov inspected the stand of TAIF Group, stopping near each of them. Director General of TAIF-NK Rushan Shamgunov made a presentation of the company and spoke about the progress of large-scale works on commissioning of the Heavy Residue Conversion Complex. Farid Minigulov, Director General of Kazanorgsintez, who a few minutes before that received the award from the president for ''new promising types of petrochemical products'', told Rustam Minnikhanov about the development of technology and the organization of the production of high-performance carbon-filled polyethylene composition of PE 100 pipe grade.

For the pipe grade polyethylene, marked on the exhibition with the diploma, the company received international certificate of conformity of indicators of the polyethylene with the requirements of ISO 9080. ''Thanks to the international certificate, we are included in the list of the world's 20 largest producers of polyethylene. This brand is used for the production of gas and water pipes. To get the certificate, we have conducted tests for five years. The service life of pipes of this brand is 100 years,'' Farid Minigulov said.

Azat Bikmurzin, the head of the city-forming enterprise of Nizhnekamsk — Nizhnekamskneftekhim, noted that it produces about 700,000 tonnes of rubbers per year, but by 2020 it plans to increase the volume to 1 million tonnes. For this purpose, the isoprene-monomer plant implements three investment projects: in September 2017 the formaldehyde production plant was launched, in June the isobutylene production plant was put into operation, and now the reconstruction of the isoprene plant is nearing completion. All this will allow to increase the production of isoprene rubber SKI-3 to 330,000 tonnes.

85% of synthetic rubbers are shipped to large foreign companies under long-term contracts. At the same time, the sale of Nizhnekamskneftekhim plastics, on the contrary, is focused on the domestic market — 85% of their production is sold in Russia.

''Our strategic programme is the construction of an ethylene complex with a capacity of 600,000 tonnes per year. We have started the active phase, now we are working on the design: we are already beginning to develop the project documentation, we expect to get a construction permit by the summer of next year and start work on the field,'' said Azat Bikmurzin, Director General of Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC.

NKNK expects to receive a permit for the construction of ethylene complex by the summer of 2019

''The main problem is the lack of brains''

After the opening ceremony of the exhibition, a conference of the petrochemical forum began, the main theme of which was the introduction of information technologies in the modelling of oil exploration projects. ''We believe that the construction of objective geological models is an effective tool for enhanced oil recovery,'' said Minnikhanov and added that the experience in the implementation of digitalization in Tatneft have shown high efficiency of IT technologies as a tool for the development of the resource base and increasing oil production.

Alexey Aleshin also spoke about the need to use IT technologies in oil and gas production. He noted that the technologies and equipment used in Tatarstan pleased him.

''We are currently developing a lot of innovative technologies and equipment, it is important given the sanctions. What we have been shown makes a good impression. The future of our petrochemical and gas complex is quite calm. As for iron, we are able to do all this or we can quickly develop it. The main problem — the control system of this equipment, that is, brains. Here we had a big gap, now we are filling this gap,'' the head of Rostekhnadzor told.

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By Daria Turtseva. Photo: Maksim Platonov
Tatarstan