№10 October 2009
№ 10 (October 2009)
A town of Pervouralsk located in several kilometers from the border between Europe and Asia owes its origin and existence only to metallurgy. Even the date of its foundation, December, 1, 1732, is timed to coincide with the day when the blast furnace of the ironworks founded here by the Demidovs’ dynasty started tapping cast iron.
Exactly 200 years later, during the Soviet period, another plant was built there – and it was Pervouralsk New Pipe Plant (Pervouralsky Novotrubny Zavod – PNTZ), where traditions established by famous industrialists of old times are kept up even now. The operations capacity of the Finishing Center that had been recently built at the CHTPZ Group’s plant was demonstrated at the end of May to representatives of Russian oil and gas companies and journalists.
Representatives of fuel and energy industry leading companies of Russia and CIS, such as Gazprom, Rosneft, Surgutneftegaz, LUKOIL, TNK-BP, Gazpromneft, Russneft, Slavneft, Bashneft, etc., industrial unions and associations, such as Pipe Industry Development Fund, Pipe Manufacturers Association and Russian Association of Metal Products Suppliers came to see the new Finishing Center.
Both in the vicinity of the Finishing Center and inside it one notices tidiness of the plant site and optimistic bright palette of metal structures painted in various colors, as if you were at a playground. However, everything is quite serious here: since 2007 about 132 million euros have been invested in construction of the Center that was formally opened in May; the investments are expected to be returned within the period of five to seven years. It is related to oil well tubing, including tubes with upset ends, casing pipes and oil and gas supply pipes. Aleksandr Fedorov, the Chairman of Directors Board of the CHTPZ Group and PNTZ, in his speech at the Finishing Center formal opening called it the most important project of the Group for the year 2009:
“It is an absolutely new production facility. It provides an absolutely different quality level of oilfield tubular goods, and we already have some orders for those products,” Alexandr Fedorov said. “The first lot of the Finishing Center products will be supplied to Surgutneftegaz. Shipments of oil-well tubing to LUKOIL and Rosneft are also planned.”
The site of the new Center (PNTZ, Workshop 4) with the area about 43,000 sq. meters includes coupling division, tube heat treatment line, pipe-end upset division, NDT division and tapping line for oil well tubing and casing pipes. The process lines are equipped with up-to-date machinery manufactured by ЕМАG and SMS Meer (Germany) selected according to tenders results.
At the coupling division work 73 employees, operating four EMAG twin-spindle coupling sleeve machines, washers, stampers, AGV system and Linsinger saws special equipment that applies termodiffusion anticuff zinc coating to protect tapping.
Tuboscope quality control line incorporating Amalog® and Truscope® system provides eight types of non-destructive tests. These tests include steel grade screening, laser measurement of diameter, two magnetic testing devices to control longitudinal and lateral strain, longitudinal and lateral ultrasonic inspection. Information about defects locations along tube can be printed out at the line: if the defects are internal, the tube will be scrapped, if the defects are external, the tube can be repaired. According to the plant personnel, this cumulative control overlaps requirements of all the regulatory documents.
Because of two SMS Meer walking beam furnaces installed on the heat-treatment line this area can not be called chilly. No wonder – the temperature inside the furnaces is up to 1,000 С. The furnaces’ inlets and outlets are provided with video cameras. The control panel located in a separate room within the line provides full control of all the equipment from gas burners to mechanical systems. Overall maintenence of the heat-treatment area is carried out by nine operators per shift.
Construction of an arc-furnace complex is another large project of the CHTPZ Group. The group is eager to spend over 400 million euros to provide facilities of the CHTPZ Group and PNTZ with stock-material for seamless tubes production. The new production facility will allow to outcommission obsolescent open-hearth furnaces and to replace them with a 120-ton SMS Demag furnace manufactured by a world leader in production of metallurgical equipment.
“Facilities of this sort are operated all over the world, in the U.S. there is a precise copy of this facility,” Antony Faulds, the director of the arc-furnace complex said when showing to his guests the facility under construction. “Its first heat is scheduled to the fourth quarter of 2010. After six months of equipment testing the designed capacity of the facility will be obtained which comprises 950,000 tons of steel tube stock per year.”
The tap-to-tap period will comprise only 50 minutes. Use of two continuous casting machines is planned for different tube diameters. The special technology of processing iron-bearing materials developed by SMS Demag will allow to produce tube stock of different quaity levels. This will provide another advantage at the market with increasing severeness and range of customers’ requirements: as a rule, production of different steel grades for changing tube stock dimensions is unprofitable for metal suppliers.
CHTPZ places its stake on large-diameter pipes (LDP) for transfer pipelines as well. A tube-making facility is built where single-joint wepded LDPs in the sizes 530-1,420 mm (a so-called Russian size) with the wall thickness up to 48 mm and the strength class up to Х100 cm with internal and external coating will be manufactured. According to CHTPZ press-office, it will be the most innovative pipe rolling facility in Russia featuring ingeinous environment-friendly technologies with the capacity up to 600,000 tons per year. In this segment CHTPZ also renders its tribute to proven German quality – it has already paid up shipment of SMS Meer equipment for the workshop of electrical pipe welding. Installation of up-to-date high-tech cranes is in process. The total amount of the project investments approximates 500 million euros. Petr Sumin, the governor of Chelyabinsk region, during his visit to CHTPZ in the end of June thanked the management of the Pipe Rolling Mill for “implementation of such a large-scale project in severe economical conditions.”
“Acting in tandem with Magnitka that is preparing start-up of Stan-5000 facility designed to produce steel sheets for tubes, CHTPZ consolidated the region’s status,” Sumin noted, “as the new facility will provide about 1,400 new work places.”
The facility commissioning of which is scheduled to 2010 will allow the Pipe Rolling Mill to take part in the key large-scale pipeline projects which are of great importance for Russian economic life.
Now CHTPZ has already started shipments to the adress of Transneft for the second stage of Baltic Pipeline System. The company is going to continue shipments for VSTO project and to take part in construction of Yuzhny Potok (the South Stream) and Sakhalin – Khabarovsk – Vladivostok trunk lines as well.
“We all look forward to start-up of this facility, we look forward to the moment when we can write on the first pipe manufactured there ‘Pipe down, you crisis!’” Petr Sumin, the governor of Chelyabinsk region, said.
Quality improvement and extension of product range meaning that CHTPZ tubes were used in 70 percent oil and gas pipelines operated in Russia is the issue of most impotrance in the CHTPZ Group. The quality issues are especially relevant in crisis conditions that excalated competition among pipe manufacturers.
In the beginning of July scheduled inspections of process and quality management system according to EC Directives 97/23/EG, 89/106/ЕЕС and AD 2000 W0/TRD100 Technical Regulations carried out by the Registered Society of Technical Supervision – TUV (Germany) started at PNTZ. The inspection confirmed PNTZ certificates of Conformity for pipe manufacturing according to EN and DIN standards applied in high-pressure installations and construction. It allows the Pipe Rolling Mill further manufacturing of pipes on the orders from EC countries.
Commissioning of the Finishing Center, new LDP production facilities and the arc furnace complex is supposed to consolidate position of the CHTPZ Group at the market. These projects will provide reliable basis for the company development after revitalization of the economy and restoring of consumer demand. Since the end of the last year the CHTPZ Group undertakes arrangements aimed to negotiate consequences of the economical crisis: the cost-saving program, measures to prevent employee displacements, reorganization of accounts payable. Meanwhile, representatives of the company’s management have regular meetings with work collectives to clarify current situation, as well as goals and perspectives of plants-members of the CHTPZ Group. Today it is essential to preserve the results achieved during decades of successful operation at the market and to improve operations efficiency given that certain goals have already been set for the future including assimilation of new products with special attention to high-strength metals and premium joints, participation in international pipeline projects, and leadership in service quality.