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December 3, 2007
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Home / Issue Archive / 2007 / July #7 / Rosneft Improves Export Logistics Infrastructure

№ 7 (July 2007)

Rosneft Improves Export Logistics Infrastructure

Rosneft’s dynamic development and growth, which has been demonstrated lately, proves the thesis about the increasing role of national oil companies in the global energy market.

By Elena Zhuk

According to the results of the audit, which was carried out by DeGolyer and MacNaughton at the end of the past year, the company became a worldwide leader among public oil and gas companies in terms of actual reserves of liquid hydrocarbons amounting to 20.089 bbl of oil equivalent. Moreover, after the recent purchase of oil refineries in the Samara region and Eastern Siberia in auction sales organized to divest YUKOS’ assets, the company became the second largest after LUKOIL in terms of refining output. Yet, Rosneft intends to go even further and buy more new refineries bringing the refinery crude run up to annual 90 million tons.

“In my opinion, the company has a very well balanced downstream structure,” Alexander Sapronov, the Rosneft vice president responsible for these issues, told a recent news conference. His session with reporters preceded a flight from Moscow to Arkhangelsk where journalists, including OGE's technology editor, toured Rosneft facilities. Dmitry Bogdanov, the company’s vice president responsible for the commercial part of the downstream block, attended the same press-conference. At present, Rosneft takes advantage of export opportunities, provided to companies in accordance with the concept of equal access to Transneft’s pipeline system. “The quota increase dynamics, which presently amounts to 40 percent, confirms that the system is developing rapidly; and neither Rosneft nor other companies suffer shortage of Transneft’s export capacities,” Dmitry Bogdanov said.  “After purchasing new assets (to be precise, Tomskneft and Samaraneftegaz) our integrated export quota should be enlarged by the quotas of those oil and gas production companies respectively. According to preliminary estimations, additional export quotas for the second half-year bring us in total 5 million tons, thus enabling the company to choose the most effective routes,” he added.

According to Bogdanov, the combination of the present oil refining capacity, which increased after Rosneft's acquisition of big refineries, together with Transneft’s exporting potential, provides for a “wide choice of both the most efficient routes to supply oil to the plants, and the most efficient routes to ship export oil.”

Not by Transneft Alone…

Still, the exploitation of Transneft pipelines is not a cure-all. Early in 2003, thanks to purchasing Severnaya Neft, Rosneft enlarged its resource base by acquiring oil fields in the Nenets Autonomous District, in the Komi Republic and in the Arkhangelsk region. However, the new owner, who was eager to increase production, had to deal with the issue of insufficient export capacities of the Usa – Ukhta pipeline. One of the main routes, which could deliver Russian oil to Western markets and which was used to ship the “black gold” produced in the north-west region to Primorsk terminal, turned out to be too narrow in the proper sense of the word. Speaking of the route via Belarus, attitude to this option, apart from other factors, is determined today by the ever-shifting political situation.

“To deal with this problem, we’ve designed a plan involving a combination of routes: first, oil is shipped to Privodino via Transneft pipeline; then it is delivered by train to Arkhangelsk; in Arkhangelsk the oil is transshipped to our shuttle tankers, and from the Belokamenka floating storage unit it is shipped to export markets by large-capacity tankers,”  commented Bogdanov. “Initially, this year we intended to ship 3.2 million tons of oil using the route combination.  Yet, throughout the year the amounts were corrected in accordance with the routes’ efficiency and reduced to 2.4 million tons. The combination of routes makes it possible to transport oil produced by Severnaya Neft and to continue increasing production at the company’s fields.”
At the same time, Bogdanov thinks that if the Kharyaga – Indiga pipeline is built, it can “take on some oil” from that route: “Given the complex ice conditions in Indiga, it is possible to use a similar method – to transport oil from Indiga to Belokamenka, and then ship it to Europe by large-capacity tankers.”


This supply chain is unique for Russia, and Rosneft was prompted to develop it partly due to lack of deepwater ports capable of receiving tankers with deadweight exceeding 100,000 tons.

“In January, we agreed to establish a joint venture with Sovkomflot based on our Rosnefteflot subsidiary  (in which  Rosneft and Sovkomflot own 49 and 51 percent respectively),”  Sapronov added. “One of the tasks for the new JV is to find ways to intensify the use of Belokamenka facility.”

The Belokamenka’s oil transshipment potential comes up to 12 million tons per year, and these figures considerably exceed Rosneft’s needs. That is why the company allowed LUKOIL to use the floating storage unit for the transshipment of  Timan-Pechora oil. According to the agreement between the companies, the volume of Timan-Pechora oil will total 1 million tons.

Privodino Showcases World Standard Technologies

In Kotlassky District of the Arkhangelsk Region, at Privodino railway station 54 tank cars are sitting in wait. In four hours after admitting the train, the tanks are filled, the train is prepared, the cars are sealed, and the oil is sampled (quality and quantity control is carried out by Societe Generale de Surveillance – SGS),  the cargo will set off to Arkhangelsk. The oil’s “trip” from Privodino rack to Arkhangelsk terminal takes a little more than a day; in this period three to four trains will leave the station.

The oil passes through a pump withdrawal platform and a metering unit, then it is pumped up into tanks, whose total capacity amounts to 60,000 cu.m. The oil loading complex has been designed to transship up to 4.2 million tons of oil per year, and it’s potential still has not been fully used. “Presently, we load 200,000-220,000 tons per month. The available facilities are more than enough for the current production rate and in case the production rate at Timan-Pechora grows, we will be able to handle larger volumes,” said Yuri Anisimov, general manager at RN-Arkhangelsknefteprodukt LLC.

It took nearly a year to build RN-Arkhangelskneftеprod-ukt’s oil filling complex at Privodino. “In October 2003 forest clear cutting started, and in December 2004 first oil was transshipped. The next year in September the state commission was signing acceptance documents on the facility,” recalls director of the complex Alexander Vypolzov, who played an active part in organizing the facility’s construction, which cost more than $100 million.

Alexander Vypolzov is proud to show a brand new fully automated pump house with its state-of-the-art equipment: “Oil is pumped from the tank farm to the rack. Altogether, four main pumps are operated and one is kept in reserve; the pumps are used as a reserve by turn. In addition to pumping oil from tanks to the rack, these pumps can pump from tank to tank in case of emergency. German-manufactured Bornemann pumps proved to be an excellent choice – we can export oil both in hot and cold weather; the process stops only at minus 40 degrees Celsius  as required by health standards. Filling at the rack is also automated. When we lower 14 filling pipes, the first pump is actuated, then other 14 pipes go down – the second pump is actuated, etc. The tank filling process is automatic as well: when the level reaches the sensors, the system is turned off automatically and the return pumps are switched off. No leakage has ever been detected at the rack for two and a half years of the facility operation.”
At the Arkhangelsk terminal oil is heated up to 40 degrees Celsius in winter to facilitate the discharge process. “The tanks are equipped with coils; water passes through the coils and after heating returns to the boiler house. Water used as a heat carrier has a temperature 70 to 80 degrees Celsius and also passes through a closed circuit,” says Sergei Ovchinnikov, chief engineer of Privodino oil filling complex.

With throughput capacity of 50 cu. m per hour and a six stage water purification system, the disposal facility has been designed to clean waste water. There are two lines, the main one and the reserve one, which can be used in turn or simultaneously. “At first, oil passes through a hydrocyclones, where it is separated from water as cream from butter. Then, the fluid enters a subsiding tank, where the largest suspended particles are removed. After that, flotation process starts, which include water saturation with coagulants and air bubbles. This results in foam formation, which is removed by means of special extractors. Water passes through special decolorizing, sorption and pressure filters,” tells Ovchinnikov. Afterwards, purified water is discharged to the ground and over the entire facilities’ area groundwater monitoring is carried out based on samples taken from 14 wells drilled specially for the purpose. 

The facility’s modern fire protection system is rather flexible and may be used outside the facility as well. When there is no scheduled loading works, the fire fighting brigade on duty may be detached to help the municipalities. To confirm their efficiency in fighting forest and grass fires, numerous merit and honor certificates decorate the walls of Vypolzov’s  room.

“Three pumps direct water to the foam tanks, where it is mixed with foam, and after that subsurface foam injection is carried out. If the sensors in the enclosure detect a high temperature and the operator on duty responds promptly within 30 seconds, the fire protection system is actuated automatically,” tells Alexander Vypolzov.


The facility is serviced by 174 persons who work round-the-clock on a shift basis. The average salary at the facility amounts to 16,000 roubles. Along with other factors, work for RN-Arhangelsknefteprodukt is prestigious because its employees can take advantage of a full social package and a mortgage program of preferential credits, which are given for a 10-year term for real-estate purchasing.

Opening Up the New Horizons

Before 2004, only oil products, such as diesel oil, gasoline, fuel oil, passed through the Arkhangelsk terminal located only 3 km away from the city borders, near the village of Talagi. New facilities put into operation as part of a new supply chain made it possible to accumulate oil shipments up to 15,000-20,000 tons, thus increasing the terminal’s oil output up to 3.5 million tons per year.
Furthermore, as a result of reconstruction, which was undertaken later, the process of transshipment of light oil products was improved. The most up-to-date technologies were used to increase the loading rate. Thanks to these technologies, the capacity of the light oil products transshipment terminal doubled, hitting 2 million tons per year.

“The main routes to ship oil products go from the Nizhnekamsky Oil Refinery and the Ufa Refineries. To compete with them, there are Baltic ports at the Kaliningrad Region. Among our advantages, the lower cost of transportation by railway and, for equal tanker shipments, easier access to the North Sea should be mentioned. The matter is that in spring the straits may get clogged due to amount of vessels en route to Primorsk port,” said Yuri Anisimov.

Yuri Anisimov shares his plans for the near future: “At present, our facility allows running up to five tank cars of fuel oil at a time, in autumn we plan to arrange running of 15 tank cars simultaneously. This makes it possible to increase the potential volume of fuel oil sales in the bunker market of the Arkhangelsk Region from 150,000 up to 450,000 tons per year. A separate building for fuel oil running and a separate rack for ten tank cars, as well as a new pump house for five pumps with capacity of 600 cu. m per hour are under construction now.”

Anisimov believes that a new route for transporting oil products from the Samara group of plants, which joined Rosneft recently, by railway to Arkhangelsk is a viable project: “ While  preparing the company’s business plan for 2008–2011, we have considered this transportation scheme; уet, the final decision on this issue will be made by the company’s management in autumn. If necessary, we can increase the terminal’s capacity up to 7 million tons per year while reconstructing the facility. Out of that amount, the split between oil and oil products could be 4 million tons and 3 million tons respectively.”

“I am speaking about exclusive light oil products, which do no get into the main pipeline,” he explains. “This is neither ordinary diesel oil 02-62 nor gasoline-76, which is transported by Transnefteprodukt, but a fuel grade kerosene, which is an ecologically clean type of diesel fuel with various sulphur content, gasoline-80 and gasoline-92, possibly vacuum gas oil and furnace diesel oil, which we plan to transship this summer.”

The pump house designed to pump oil from tanks into tankers underwent reconstruction in 2003. To operate German-made Grundfos pumps with flow rate of 1,100-1,400 cu. m per hour, an operator is required only to change oil. A dispatcher remotely turns the unit on/off, monitors emergency situations and controls the pumps’ flow rate.

The first stage of reconstruction, as well as the construction of Privodino complex, have already paid off.  Today, the Arkhangelsk terminal approaches  the second stage, which includes the construction of new disposal facilities, pump house for fire fighting purposes and other infrastructure units for general purposes, which will cost the company $10 million.

Going Through the White Sea – to Belokamenka, and Further – to Rotterdam!

Today the Privodino – Arkhangelsk – Belokamenka scheme has already proved to be successful: in April, shipping of the landmark 10 million tons of oil by a promising export route was celebrated at the floating storage unit. Out of that volume, 8.6 million were offloaded through the jetty of Arkhangelsk terminal.
Four to five ice-reinforced tankers with deadweight up to 15,000 tons owned by Rosnefteflot and Murmansk Shipping Company run between Arkhangelsk and Belokamenka, covering over 800 km of sea.

Every five days, oil from a tank filled at Privodino is shipped to Belokamenka; then it is transshipped to the customers’ supertankers and shipped further to Rotterdam.

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A Tanker’s Story

The dimensions of the tanker berthed in the ice-free Kola Bay not far from the Belokamenka village near  Murmansk, are impressive: the length of the largest Russian offshore oil terminal is 340.5 m; its depth is 31.5 m  and width is 65 m. The Berge Pioneer tanker owned by the Norwegian company Bergesen Worldwide Gas ASA was fixed at Dubai port, where it got the CAP1 Class rating. Then, the tanker received the “Russian citizenship” and a new name. The Belokamenka tanker has separate compartments to store oil of different quality. Also, its state-of-the-art equipment provides for prevention of oil spills and for oil spill response. The transshipment complex can store up to 360,000 tons of oil and oil products. This volume will be sufficient to store oil even if Severnaya Neft increases its production and production grows at LUKOIL’s Varandey field, as well as at Sandybinskoye and Srednekhulymskoye fields in the Ob Bay area. 

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Best Greetings from Spain to the Northern Outpost of Rosneft

To increase the efficiency of the oil transshipment scheme and enhance ecological safety of the White Sea, in 2006 Rosneft ordered three shuttle tankers from Spanish shipbuilding company Factorias Vulkano S.A. As both the Northern Dvina’s estuary and the White Sea are relatively shallow, the rated transportation volume is restricted to 25,400 tons. Yet, this fact notwithstanding, in the second quarter of the next year the amount of vessels will already be reduced to two or three tankers, instead of four to five vessels currently in use.
The Spanish tankers are equipped with 12 special reservoirs for oil, oil products and chemical substances. The vessels are to meet all the ecological safety requirements introduced in 2006 in connection with reinforcement of tankers’ bottom part. The new shuttle tankers will be equipped with a bow manoeuvring devices and home-going electric motor for the case of main motor failure.

Copyright © 2007 Eurasia Press, Inc. (USA). All rights reserved.
Copyright © 2007 Eurasia Press (www.eurasiapress.com)