People of the HRCC: at unique production — unique team
Heavy Residue Convertion Complex: why people confess their love for this work and are ready to devote most of their time to it
For the first time in the world and in Tatarstan, it has become possible to achieve a truly deep processing of crude oil: the share of extraction of high-quality light petroleum products from each tonne of oil exceeded 90% and continues to increase. The Veba Combi Cracking technology, or, as it is also called, VCC, is unique in itself, the equipment is unique, its assembly configuration is unique. All this was made even more unique by the complex of modernisations implemented by the HRCC team. About the people who are able to reach peaks that seemed unconquerable — read in the material of Realnoe Vremya.
This is not just a factory, it is our brainchild
The huge modern Heavy Residue Convertion Complex, capable of processing up to 3,6 million tonnes of tar and vacuum gas oil into high-quality light oil products a year, is impressive. Even at the entrance to it, it becomes clear how much work, effort, money, time, knowledge have been invested in its creation.
Why are the residues heavy? It's not only and not so much about weight, but about how difficult it is to process such a low-margin product saturated with sulphur and almost all existing metals, like tar, into something useful. Even at the beginning of this century, the task seemed impossible. Today, there are no doubters about the reality of transformation of a black, thick, rapidly solidifying into a monolith mass into naphtha, kerosene, aviation and diesel fuel. An example is in front of the eyes. Live. Real. Working. As well as people who refused to believe that their dream is impossible, and created a miracle, creating the largest and most perfect Complex in the world at the moment, working on VCC technology.
“Those people who have been with me since the very beginning of construction, this is the team that will stay here until the end. How do we keep people in production? If a person wants to leave, no one can keep him. But TAIF-NK has a good social security programme, and the CEO is also actively developing sports events. I think it's all very important and plays its part. But there is one more point: the HRCC is our common brainchild. Of our entire team. A child that you want to see constantly, take care of, watch it grow. And this is our second home," Director of the HRCC Andrey Konovnin shared in a conversation with the journalist of Realnoe Vremya.
And the opinion of the director here is shared by many. Including by Chief Production Engineer Artur Urazaykin, who, despite his youth, is one of the local old-timers and a vivid example of the fact that a responsible attitude to work is the right way up the career ladder.
“In 2013, when I came here as the head of the production and technical department, there was practically nothing here on the territory, except for a fenced-in pit with clay. And it was in 2013 that active construction began here. The people who work with me have seen how the whole production grew from the pits. The production is not easy. It's not easy because the technology that is implemented here is actually unique. The people who work here, they know all this firsthand, and not only the beauty, but the difficulties that were. And difficulties always unite teams. Our team came together especially strongly on solving the problems and tasks that we faced. And the task was to move forward daily. Together — step by step. If we move separately, and this applies not only to us, but to everyone around us, then this goal — the construction and launch of the Complex — would remain unattainable until now," the chief engineer of the HRCC is sure.
Maximum attention to ensuring industrial safety
People are the main value of TAIF-NK in general and the Heavy Residue Convertion Complex in particular. Industrial safety is a set of norms, rules and requirements designed to protect not only expensive equipment from threats, but also people who work on this equipment. And special attention is paid to this issue here.
“High pressures, temperatures, the very environments we work with are quite dangerous. Therefore, the industrial safety system at our production facilities of the entire TAIF-NK JSC is constantly maintained at the highest level. And this is precisely a systematic approach that does not allow any formalism: all requirements must be met and are carried out clearly, rigidly, and thoroughly. Everything is under control, and they don't turn a blind eye to anything. There is a special service that is constantly engaged in technical audit, identifies possible bottlenecks. Decisions are taken immediately: elimination, compensatory measures, etc.” assured Director General of TAIF-NK Maksim Novikov.
Such approach finds a response and understanding both in the staff of the oil refining complex and in the higher management, said Aleksey Khramov, the chief engineer of the company.
“I would like to express my gratitude to the owners of the enterprise, who do not save on equipment diagnostics, industrial safety examinations, purchase of high-quality spare parts, and performing the required repairs. In the technological scheme of TAIF-NK JSC, devices with substances heated significantly above self-ignition temperatures, devices and pipelines with hydrogen pressure up to 200 bar are operated, many devices operate in an environment of hydrogen sulfide, which is deadly to humans. All this and much more requires special attention. We do not save any resources or time on industrial safety. Both industrial safety, labour protection, and the issues of respect for the environment are priorities when making any decision," he stressed.
Working at the HRCC is a field of limitless possibilities
The Heavy Residue Convertion Complex continues to develop, work is underway on the development of new directions and types of products. There is a need for specialists, the director general of TAIF-NK JSC noted.
“Like any production in any industry, first of all, the HRCC needs specialists of working professions. We have a cooperation agreement with the petrochemical college, a contract has been signed for dual training, when senior students — our future specialists — actually already work directly with us. This is not just practice, but work combined with ongoing studies. It's more efficient. The other day, students have visited our production facilities with an excursion — this is one of the tools for popularising our profession and our enterprise. It's one thing when they are told about oil refining, it's another when they see production in practice and have the opportunity to compare what they see with their theoretical knowledge. Naturally, it's more interesting this way. Our doors are always open for students and young people. And we always have the opportunity for professional development, for career growth," Maksim Novikov stressed.
“The Heavy Residue Convertion Complex is unique. But, no matter what unique equipment would be purchased, people work on the ground and the most responsible decisions are made by operational and technical personnel. The HRCC has a special attitude to the staff. Speaking generally about TAIF-NK, this is the only plant where there are operators of the 7th category. When I got a job, I didn't know that there were operators of the 7th category at all. At the HRCC, they are reality," Aleksey Khramov, the chief engineer of TAIF-NK JSC, shared with the journalist of Realnoe Vremya. He also added: “If there was a desire and willingness to invest hard in your career, there will be opportunities for career growth. We operate the uniquely complex and dangerous production, and we cannot raise employees up the career ladder according to criteria other than professional suitability. The Company's management makes great efforts to find and recruit staff and ensure the professional growth of our specialists. True professionals are a very expensive and rare resource, therefore we do everything to consolidate specialists at the enterprise.
The initial backbone of the team was formed from people who already have a certain professional training. Someone moved from other productions of TAIF-NK itself, there are those who came from neighbouring petrochemical enterprises. Here they quickly become specialists of a different, much higher level," said Andrey Konovnin, the director of the HRCC.
“Those who work for the HRCC are ordinary guys with the appropriate specialised education. We, the management of the complex and the enterprise as a whole, contribute to professional development and support initiative workers. Here they are revealed in a different way. The staff that we recruited initially, even at the construction stage, are people with experience, but since the complex is unique in its own way, we all have to learn every day. Including me," he notes.
The chief engineer of the complex, Artur Urazaykin, complements:
“For us, every member of our team is important, because the final result depends on everyone. And each person is important not as an able-bodied unit, but as a person with his own thoughts, with his own ideas. We really welcome when people try to realise themselves and bring something new. The search for ways and solutions never stops here. And people who know how to think, who have fresh ideas and a fresh vision, will always find an opportunity to prove themselves in our production.
HRCC is a job that engrosses
An interesting point: almost everyone with whom I has the opportunity to communicate at the HRCC — from ordinary specialists to the director — is ready to confess their love for their work and untiring interest.
“I love this laboratory because it is my brainchild. For me personally. And for those who will come, it's probably worth working here, because it's interesting, because it's great, because this is an actively developing production, because there is a very young, promising, interesting team here," Elena Demidova, the head of the laboratory, said with a twinkle in her eyes.
Now she has more than 80 employees under her command. Here's an interesting point: the flow of those who want to get a job here has not subsided for 7 years, since the laboratory was put into operation.
“Resumes are still regularly received, and they are even ready to lower the categories. But they want to work here. People are interested in that this is a new production, this is a new modern equipment, which is pleasant to work on. Well, I think it's the stability of production: stable salaries, a stable social package — all this attracts people," she noted. New employees have recently been employed: out of three pupils of the Nizhnekamsk College of Petrochemistry and Oil Refining, who had an internship in the laboratory before defending their diploma, two asked for a job. Now they are employees of the HRCC laboratory.
“We have a new production, new technologies, some interesting things that they will not find anywhere else. This applies to everything: electrical equipment, instrumentation, automation, and mechanisms in the equipment itself are all, in fact, unique. They are constantly improved, because the production tasks that are set before us require this. People who are interested, inquisitive, ambitious, striving for self-development will find themselves here. I don't even stop finding something new here for myself every day," said Artur Urazaykin.
At work and out of work
“When it is clear that a person is well versed in oil refining, naturally, we give opportunities for his further professional development. We now have another object at the implementation stage. We are ready to put initiative people in responsible areas, try their hand in the design process, in new, further stages of production development. Getting such an opportunity, a person begins to grow. He is visible. Besides, I personally determine for myself that a person must also be socially oriented: in society, in sports, in social actions… When it is seen that a person gives himself completely to work, to society, the Company cannot fail to notice him. We always open doors to such people, and there are opportunities for development and career growth," Maksim Novikov emphasises.
There are enough opportunities to spend your free time not just in idle idleness, but for the benefit of yourself and your family at the enterprise. Both the HRCC employees and specialists of TAIF-NK JSC as a whole can devote several hours a week to sports. In this, the company provides support, benefits, and even a personal example.
“I think that personal example plays a rather big role. In general, there should be examples in our time. At least as an alternative to the negative examples that are on the Internet. I myself can't do without sports. If we want to live, do what we love, so that work does not turn into a routine, we also need to devote ourselves to physical development," the director general of TAIF-NK JSC is sure. He also adds: “In general, when an employee is engaged in sports, he also shows himself at work as a person with fresh thinking, venturesome in a good way. It is more interesting to communicate with such people on production topics, they are able to make a decision, give good advice. The mind of such people is bright. Amateur sports have never harmed a person. A lot has been done in our Company, especially this year, so that people have a choice, can take the best, a lot of programmes are offered.
Young professionals have the opportunity to prove themselves in professional skill competitions. Tournaments are held both in the divisions of TAIF-NK JSC and on the scale of the Company. The best go to defend the honour of the enterprise at republican tournaments or to speak for the republic at the federal level. And this is also a step to a higher stage in your career.