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IA Neftegaz interviewed B. Budzuliak, a member of JSC Gazprom board of directors, head of Gas Transportation, Storing and Utilization Departement. September, 20, 2001

At present JSC Gazprom carries out above 20% of the world and 94% of Russian natural gas output, provides gas for domestic consumers and develops policy on the world energy markets.

What is the role of pipeline transport and underground gas storage in the structure of JSC Gazprom?

B.Budzuliak: At present JSC Gazprom carries out above 20% of the world and 94% of Russian natural gas output, provides gas for domestic consumers and develops policy on the world energy markets.
Pipeline transport is the most important link in the system of providing domestic and foreign consumers with natural gas.
The length of the main pipelines in the country has exceeded 150,000 km, transportation is carried out with the help of 253 compressor stations whose total capacity is above 42.6 МVt.
Gazprom pipeline system serves mainly for transporting gas from large fields in Western Siberia in the Western direction - to the densely populated regions of the country, as well as to the key export markets of Europe and to some countries of the former USSR. Other pipelines start in the gas fields of Volga-Ural region.
Round-the-clock control of gas transportation is realized in the Company's central controller's office in Moscow.
At present Gazprom's plans of its gas pipeline network further development are concentrated on reconstruction of the Unified gas supply system, as well as on realization a number of key projects. Among them construction of "Yamal-Europe" and "Blue Flood" pipelines. High degree of Gazprom pipelines integration (due to parallel pipelines and their systems) ensures gas deliveries efficiency to foreign clients and consumers.
Gas deliveries reliability to Russian consumers and for export are also ensured by the ramified network of underground gas storages (UGS).
The Company possesses a wide system of underground storages, among them 22 acting UGS and 5 are being constructed.
Underground gas storage helps to regulate hourly, daily and season unevenness of gas consumption, ensures reliability of exports and long-term gas reservation.
Arrangement of UGS makes it possible not only to stabilize season unevenness of gas consumption but also provide with gas some regions of Russia during the winter period.
JSC Gazprom injects and stores gas in UGSs of the Ukraine, is part of joint-companies exploiting UGS on the territory of: Latvia (JSC Latvijas gaze - Inchukalinskoie UGS), Germany (VINGAZ GmbH, Reden UGS), Armenia (JSC Armrosgazprom, Aboviansk UGS). In 1999 France joined the countries where Russian gas is stored. In 1994 to 1999 maximum daily capacity of UGSs increased from 335 to 490 mil cu m of gas. In 2000 maximum daily sampling capacity amounted to 388 mil cu m of gas. In 2000 gas injection into Russian UGSs equaled 46 bil cu m, the sampling - 39.1 bil cu m.

What basic tasks is JSC Gazprom facing in the sphere of pipeline transport, underground gas storage and utilization?

B.Budzuliak: The main task is search of technological expenditures reduction ways and improvement of trading-transport scheme effectiveness. "Complex program of gas compressor units modernization and reconstruction" is written and being realized. Industry specialists pay much attention to scientific and technical progress, creating and inculcation of new technologies and equipment in the sphere of gas transport.
These tasks are dealt with not only by branch research institutes and companies but also by the academic science, establishments of higher learning and institutes of adjoining branches.
Special place is taken here by the defence complex enterprises, such as Kirov Plant, JSC Lulka-Saturn, Perm Motors, Kazan and Samara avia plants and others.
This cooperation insures using in the interests of gas industry the highest technological potential collected by these organizations and makes it possible to make equipment according to world standards.
At present the program of development and manufacture of avia-driven, ship-operated and permanent gas compressor unit (GCU) with efficiency of 42% is being realized.
Tests have been carried out and now 14 kinds of GCU with capacity 6.3 to 25 MVt and efficiency from 30 to 36% are prepared for mass production. We have at our disposal GCUs with complete set of capacities and high degree of automatization and reliability. Six more machines with efficiency up to 37% are in the stage of development or assembly for tests.
Mass usage of new generation GCU, complying with world standards, will make it possible to reduce gas consumption for technological needs by 25-30%, as well as reduce nitric acids outbursts, increase effectiveness of gas transporting.
At present gas is dumped into the atmosphere during repair works on the linear areas of pipelines. To avoid these losses, Agreement with Kazan motor construction association has been signed to create a compressor unit for gas pumping out of the area under construction.
To raise effectiveness of gas transportation, technical complex "Simone" was adopted together with Ruhrgas AG. Adoption of this complex at all the pipelines of JSC Gazprom will reduce transport energy expenditures by 7-8%.

The unified system of gas supply requires permanent control to carry out timely repairs. How is this problem solved?

B.Budzuliak: To ensure high effectiveness and secure exploitation of gas supply unified system in conditions of financial and material resources deficit can be reached only by transition to selective repair methods on the basis of technical tests results. With it the necessary repair works and correspondingly expenditures on it can be reduced by 3 times at least.
Gazprom's basic technical policy in the sphere of acting pipelines support is creating a complex system of main gas pipelines control.
This system includes:
  1. Electrometric measurements;
  2. Aerocosmic monitoring: aviational inspection of pipeline routes condition and gas leakage exposure;
  3. Inter-pipe inspection;
  4. Analysis of inspection results, estimation of the defects and optimization of repair works periods.
A complex system of technical control is created. Inter-pipe flaw defectors of the 4th generation are designed with diameters 700-1400 mm. Other machines are being tested at present.
This made it possible to inspect with flaw defectors 11-12 thous. km of pipelines a year, the total length of pipelines inspected with electric measurements methods amounted to 40,000 km.
There hasn't been a single incident since the last repairs on the areas inspected with inter-pipe flaw defectors which proves high efficiency of the fulfilled works.
A radio mobile laboratory for gas leakage detection has been set up, normative methodological documents have been made helping determine the remaining period of pipelines' exploitation.
The result is evident. Break-downs at pipelines diminished and was correspondingly (number of break-downs per 1,000 km/a year): in 1997 - 0,26; 1998 - 0,24; 1999 - 0,18.

What are the basic directions of present technical control system further development?

B.Budzuliak: In the coming years flaw detectors of other types and sizes will be manufactured, including diameters of 300-500 mm. Flaw detectors of new generation will be designed with by-pass appliance regulating the velocity without changing the mode of gas transporting.
Another direction of work is creating geoinformational system controlling technical condition of gas mains. We will carry out this program together with Russian Space Agency. This program will make it possible to monitor ecological situation and technical condition of the Unified Gas Supply System objects.

What modern technologies are used to repair affected areas of the pipelines?

B.Budzuliak: An important thing here is modernization of repair methods. I want to single out successful tests of the so called "cold welding" technology. In 1999 only, 40 defects on pipelines were liquidated using this method, above 100 ball cranes and other equipment was repaired.
Effectiveness of Unified Gas Supply System is determined mainly by the quality of materials used while construction and repairs. That is why we continue carrying out works on improve-ment pipes and isolational coatings specifications.
At present all Russian plants manufacturing pipes of big diameters, have considerably im-proved the quality of their products, they adopt the technology of three-layer polyethilene isolation coverage and other novel technologies.
Cathod stations of latest generation are being created. Construction of such stations is done to-gether with Gaz de France.

What programs are there in JSC Gazprom regarding cities and villages gasification? Are there any programs of small remote villages gasification where construction of pipelines is non-profitable?

B.Budzuliak: Experience proves that it is not always efficient to build gas pipelines to remote towns and villages. As an alternative to it, our Company has designed special technology of natural gas liquefaction. In Lentransgaz and Uraltransgaz testing industrial appliances producing liquefied natural gas are created and exploitated.
Liquefied gas can be transported to the consumers in tankers, there regasification is made and liquefied gas can be used as ordinary natural gas. Usage of LNG (liquefied natural gas) is now the most worth-while direction of work. It is widely used in the world.

What informational technologies are used for administering gas branch as a unified complex?

B.Budzuliak: All Gazprom departments - producing, transporting, refining, gas storing enterprises, scattered on the vast territory of Russia, are united into a unified production complex. To supervise such a big complex, to maintain technological regime is absolutely impossible without a unified reliable network of branch communication. Branch communication system is one of the largest corporate networks of Russia.
Today we have at our disposal digital system of communication which is among the best in the world.
In spite of the deficit of financial resources, communications network reconstruction is one of our main tasks and will be carried out at the expense of JSC Gazprom and commercial users of the network.
In the framework of this Program a number of largest international telecommunicational projects are realized. One of them is construction of fibre-optical communicational lines (Mos-cow - Berlin, Moscow - Ankara) along the pipeline routes "Yamal - Europe" and "Blue floods" that meet complete needs of pipelines in technological connections. With it the fibre-optical cable has greater output than necessary for technological connections. That is why using free capacities will provide modern means of communications as well as additional financial profit. We plan to carry out a number of similar projects which will make it possible to create modern international communicational roads and speed up economical integration of CIS countries, Europe and Asia.
One of the basic directions in departmental network modernization is development of "Yamal" sputnik connections system that meets not only production needs but also social needs of gas industry workers in Russia and abroad. In 1999 sputnik "Yamal-100" was launched which con-siderably improved the quality of technological connections for Gazprom, render modern digi-tal services to other consumers and give new opportunities for digital television channels in Russia.
At present we are working on the launch of four geo-stational sputniks for federal system of fixed communication - "Yamal - 200" and "Yamal - 300".
Development of departmental network based on modern technologies and realization of new projects ensured quality and reliability of technological connections and keeping one of the leading places among the largest telecommunicational networks in our country.

Scientific progress is impossible today without advanced foreign experience.

B.Budzuliak: I mentioned already our co-work with Ruhrgas AG, our adoption of "Simone" station and cathod protection production together with Gaz de France.
I want to site one more example of successful international scientific cooperation. While pro-jecting and construction "Yamal - Europe" pipeline we often asked advice from Wintershall AG specialists about choosing technological parameters of the pipeline and compressor sta-tions, automated control system, pipeline testing methods, etc. Mutual informational exchange helped to reach high economical indicators of the given object.
I would like to tell you about realization of the most unique investment project in the his-tory of Gazprom - construction of "Blue flood " gas main. We plan to deliver 16 bil cu m of Russian gas a year to Turkey via this pipeline. This pipeline is unique because the route will be laid on the bed of the Black Sea at the depth of above 2,000 m. There hasn't been another such case in the world experience. Specialists call construction of the pipeline worthy completion of the 20th century.

What is your opinion about reliability of Russian Gas Supply Unified System?

B.Budzuliak: In recent years reliability of Russian Unified gas supply system became the subject for analysis of international experts. The results of these tests prove high level of security and reliability of Russian gas system.
However we realize that life goes on. And what we were proud of yesterday will be hopelessly outdated tomorrow. That is why all our subsidiaries are in constant search of new scientific solutions.

Source : Neftegaz.RU