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№ 11 (November 2009)

SPE Honors Future Engineers

   Russia’s petroleum industry, which has traditionally boasted highly skilled professionals, needn’t worry for its future.

By Bojan Šoć

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   As a recent student conference has proven, its oil and gas colleges still abound in outstanding young talents who keep abreast with the latest scientific advancements and are ready to demonstrate their academic skills not only in front of a blackboard, but in the fields, too.

   On November 10, the Gubkin State Oil and Gas University (RGUNG) welcomed participants of the 1st International Student Conference entitled “Oil and Gas Horizons”, which gathered future petroleum engineers from Moscow, Kazan, Almetyevsk, Ufa, Tyumen, St. Petersburg, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan. The two-day event, co-sponsored by SPE International and Schlumberger, was organized jointly by the Student Chapter of the SPE at RGUNG, the SPE’s Moscow Chapter and the SPE’s head office in Russia.

Gubkin’s Domination

   The conference program included a business process simulation game and a round table devoted to the activity of the SPE’s student chapters in Russia and their development prospects.

   The main highlight, though, was the awards ceremony honoring the best among the 35 contestants who competed in four nominations: “Well Drilling, Oil and Gas Field Development and Production”, “Geological Science”, “Transportation, Storage and Refining of Oil and Gas” and “Economic, Legal and Political Aspects of the Oil and Gas Business.”

   In the first nomination the award went to RGUNG’s Vitaly Larshin who managed to prove the significance of weight reduction of the mobile rigs’ gear. According to the laureate, this can be achieved by using a virtual T-grade drill pipe with a 4-5-mm wall thickness, which allows to use mobile rigs of a smaller class. Other benefits, confirmed by Larshin’s calculations, include lesser load on the equipment and saved energy during well flushing. At the same time, the calculations prove that the use of this type of drill pipe doesn’t affect the strength and durability of the basic supports of the power swivel, rotor and pulley.
Another RGUNG student, 22-year-old Pavel Kulyapin claimed the award in the “Geological Science” nomination. A future geology major (he will graduate next year), Kulyapin won with a report entitled “Clay Minerals Composition as a Key to Understanding Reservoir Rock Properties.” In his work Pavel conducted a complex analysis of the clay minerals’ influence on petrophysical properties of rocks, addressing, among other issues, the application of infrared spectroscopy for a qualitative and quantitative estimation of shaliness.

Offshore and  Environment

   The third winner came from Ufa’s State Oil and Technical University. Eldar Khabibullin, 21, swept the competition in the “Transportation, Storage and Refining of Oil and Gas” nomination, claiming the award with his presentation on “The Features of Multiphase Flow in Subsea Pipelines.”  As  part of his analysis, Khabibullin conducted several experiments aiming to determine the optimal regime of multiphase flow pumping in subsea pipelines. The experimental unit included a compressor, pipes, a water-and-gas mixer, a glass pipe for visual monitoring and a bottle measuring the water flow rate (the gas flow rate was already known). The experiment yielded stratified, slug and bubble flow patterns. The obtained data showed that the most stable flow regime was observed with the gas flowrate less than 0.231.

   Finally, the fourth award went to RGUNG’s Nadezhda Shevelyova who won in the “Economic, Legal and Political Aspects of the Oil and Gas Business” nomination. Shevelyova’s research focused on economic evaluation of alternative methods of operation of oilfields that pose environmental risks. Of Russia’s 248,000 wells only 64,000 are producing while the rest are either conserved or abandoned.

   Ecological hazards are high, especially in such regions as Komi province, Dagestan and the Urals. In order to minimize those hazards the author suggests bringing abandoned wells back on stream and enhancing oil recovery rates there, too. In her opinion, this can be done by using one of the three proposed scenarios: a) re-entry and restoration to production under a production-sharing agreement, b) introduction of tax benefits and the system of compensation payments covering the costs of well re-entry by the government, c) implementation of a model based on the U.S. experience of small business support.

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