№2 February 2010
№ 2 (February 2010)
Drilling rigs have been manufactured in Volgograd for over 60 years and in this time the Volgograd Drilling Equipment Plant (VZBT) has come a long way. Starting out as a subsidiary of the Barrikady defense plant, it eventually grew into an independent factory, which today is Russia’s only full-kit manufacturer, capable of producing all components and mechanisms of a drilling rig.
By This article was provided courtesy of VZBT
Under the Soviet planned economy, when the country required accelerated growth in oil and gas production, developing capacity at VZBT was seen as the most important vector in strengthening the national machine-building industry, as well as in manufacturing drilling rigs, blowout preventers and other oilfield equipment required for providing the strategic supply of oil and gas.
Back then the management set up a special design bureau at the plant, which became the provider of solutions and progressive technology that helped turn VZBT into one of the largest manufacturers of equipment for drilling oil and gas wells.
1993, the year when the plant was incorporated as a public company – Volgogradsky Zavod Burovoi Tekhniki – was a new milestone in the history of VZBT. Since then the plant’s ownership never changed hands, building the foundation for VZBT’s steady performance for many years ahead.
During this period the country’s economic model began to change, accompanied by a harsh economic crisis, the slump of the ruble and a sharp drop in manufacturing.
During these trying times, the VZBT board of directors and management made the following decisions:
– to retain the plant’s specialization and production capacity and renew the rig fleet;
– to retain the core workers – designers, engineers and laborers alike;
– to launch production of modern drilling and oilfield equipment on a par with major global leaders in terms of quality, but available at lower costs.
Surviving Against All Odds
Despite the difficult economic and financial times, the plant continued developing new drilling and oilfield equipment, building prototypes and testing and presenting new products. Having overcome all these difficulties, VZBT currently manufactures:
– 125–320-ton hook load capacity fixed drilling rigs for drilling exploration and production wells at oil and gas fields;
– 125-ton hook load capacity mobile truck-mounted drilling rigs;
– 125–200-ton hook load capacity mobile drilling rigs on semitrailers;
– drilling and workover equipment;
– full-set BOP equipment with orifice diameters of 180, 230, 280, 350 and 425 mm operating at pressures of 21, 35 and 70 MPa, including anti-corrosion versions;
– drilling mud pumps;
– mud circulating systems and pump-aided mud circulating systems;
– SPTE and spare units for drilling and BOP equipment;
– other oilfield equipment.
VZBT drilling rigs are equipped with a top drive and can perform directional and horizontal drilling. The company also provides field supervision, start-up and commissioning services.
Success Beyond Russia’s Borders
Today, VZBT is a quickly developing company with significant design and engineering potential and high production capacity. The plant co-operates closely with leading Russian oil and gas companies.
VZBT occupies over 44 hectares (almost 110 acres) and its production facilities spread over an area of 126,000 square meters. The site houses over 1,500 units of process equipment, a testing ground and road and rail infrastructure. The company has its own design department as well, ensuring prompt reaction to new trends in the oil and gas industry and designing up-to-date equipment. VZBT has implemented a QA system certified to Russia’s GOST standard R ISO 9001-2001 (ISO 9001:2000) and is in the process of having its products certified by API. Work to improve QA systems is ongoing.
VZBT products can be seen at both Russian and international exhibitions and have repeatedly received the best possible feedback from both potential clients and state agencies monitoring the energy industry. Over 2,000 drilling units bearing the VZBT logo are operating in Russia and CIS and are used in over 53 countries worldwide. In just the past six years, the company has supplied its clients over 100 competitive, full-set drilling units with hook load capacities ranging from 125 to 250 tons.
In 2009, VZBT developed a new generation of drilling rigs named STALINGRAD, which had been ordered by Gazprom. These rigs have been field-tested at the plant’s testing ground and delivered to the customer. The latest generation of Volgograd-made rigs opens a new page in the factory’s history. These are the first rigs in Russia that have been built with an open-face mast. For the first time in the national history of manufacturing, the rigs with hook load capacity ranging from 270 to 320 tons have a block-and-modular structure, which makes VZBT products simpler and quicker to install when compared to other industry analogues. According to Gazprom’s representatives who took part in the rig handover procedure, the STALINGRAD rig is an entirely new Russian tech development, which largely surpasses the best foreign equivalents in terms of the price/quality ratio and the convenience of operation.