No. 3, 2004

Alexander Ostapenko


The Perm Oil and Gas Institute trains new-generation oilmen

Targeted selection, placement and training of personnel is a vital prerequisite for successful implementation of Strategic Development Program of JSC LUKOIL for the period up to 2013. The Company's close cooperation with the nation's leading oil and gas educational establishments, the Perm State Technological University in particular, has an important role to play in that.

Kindred spirits

Most of the Perm Region oil industry engineers are graduates from the Perm State Technological University (PSTU). Established in 1953, it has trained at its mining and technological departments tens of thousands of skilled engineers for Russia's oil and gas industry. According to LUKOIL's HR service, the University's graduates account for about 3,000 of the Company workforce. Over the years of LUKOIL's presence in the Perm Region, cooperation between the Company and the University has been getting ever closer.

In the fall of 2002, LUKOIL's management and the University's Rector and faculty members met within the framework of the LUKOIL Days program to discuss problems the University comes up against while training oil industry engineers. The parties agreed on certain steps to resolve these problems. On November 19, 2002, JSC LUKOIL and the PSTU concluded a cooperation agreement signed by LUKOIL Vice-President Anatoly Barkov and Professor Vasily Petrov, PSTU Rector.

The agreement marked the start of active cooperation between LUKOIL and the PSTU in staff training, R&D promotion, University's logistics strengthening etc. Apart from the conventional lines of joint activities, such as organizing industrial practice sessions for students and conducting joint tutorials for those working on term papers and graduation theses, the University and the Company introduced new forms of cooperation: pre-enrolment training of University entrants, postgraduate skill upgrading and retraining, and carrying out research projects on orders from LUKOIL and its subsidiaries. LUKOIL began to take part in drawing up supplementary curricula and making fieldwork arrangements for University instructors. Tatyana Margolina, Deputy Governor of the Perm Region, highly appreciated LUKOIL's social policy. "The Company's preparedness for cooperation with higher school on partnership terms speaks volumes for the Company adhering to the latest international standards in its social and human resources policies," she said.

Under the cooperation agreement, the University received targeted-oriented aid from LUKOIL in the form of up-to-date classroom and laboratory equipment. Suffice it to mention a modern oil-well work over simulator or equipment for the oil reservoir physics laboratory. LUKOIL's leading specialists have made a practice of delivering lectures to appreciative student audiences.

In their turn, staff of PSTU's mining and oil department are working on about fifteen research projects for LUKOIL.

Quite recently, the University's ten young instructors aged under 35 received grants from the Company to help them do research into topical problems of oil and gas production, complete their doctoral theses, publish monographs and manuals.

Every year, about 300 students undergo hands-on professional training at LUKOIL production facilities, with many LUKOIL grant-holders among the trainees (Pavel Cherepanov, Ivan Molokovskikh, Ivan Shipilov, Anton Shirkunov and Alexander Belyayev, to name but a few). Each of them is paid a personal LUKOIL grant of 1,200 rubles a month. Students take an active part in annual traditional conferences of LUKOIL's young scientists and specialists which is a new form of students' involvement in corporate activities.

A higher level of cooperation

Shortly afterwards, cooperation between LUKOIL and the University rose to a new level. On February 18, 2004, a new structural subdivision - the Oil and Gas Institute - was inaugurated at the PSTU. The opening of the Institute marked an extension and development of the mutually beneficial relations between a major oil company and one of the country's leading higher schools. Professor Vasily Petrov, Rector of the University, defined the main objectives of the new institute as follows: training skilled personnel for LUKOIL; enhancing scientists' involvement in solving top-priority research problems; participating in LUKOIL personnel skill upgrading. "The Perm Region should become a source of human resources for the LUKOIL," Vagit Alekperov, President of LUKOIL, told instructors and students. ТThe Oil and Gas Institute is Russia's first research and training center, and we regard it as a base for training gas production and processing specialists. This means that their knowledge will come in useful wherever LUKOIL runs its gas projects "not only in the Kama area, but also in the Yamal Peninsula, the Caspian, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia."

Gennady Tushnolobov, LUKOIL-Perm Deputy General Director for human resources and corporate development, said that the institute would help train more students and postgraduates in lines the Company is in special need of.

According to a considered decision Igor Stolbov, Cand. Sc. (Techn.), has been appointed Director of the Institute. As a structural division of the Perm State Technological Institute, the Oil and Gas Institute is based on six chairs of the Mining and Oil Department: Oil and Gas Well Drilling (headed by Prof. Leonid Dolgikh), Oil and Gas Geology (Prof. Vladislav Galkin), Oil and Gas Field Development (Prof. Viktor Mordvi-nov); Mineral Surveying, Geodesy, and Geoinformation Systems (Prof. Yury Kashnikov); Electrification and Automation of Mining Facilities (Prof. Alfred Dinkel), Mining and Oilfield Machines; and on the basis of three chairs of the Chemical Technology Department: Production Process Machines and Equipment (Prof. Nikolay Ryabchikov), Chemical Processing of Fuel and Hydrocarbon Materials (Prof. Vasily Ryabov) and Production Process Automation (Prof. Alexander Shumikhin).

The Oil and Gas Institute's activities can be roughly divided into two lines: student training and LUKOIL personnel skill, and retraining upgrading. A student majoring in oil production and his colleague learning pipeline operation will use different curricula. That will allow LUKOIL to reduce a newly-employed young specialist's adaptation period to a minimum. All the supplementary programs, courses and disciplines will be agreed upon with the Ministry of Education. The PSTU has already gained sufficient experience of targeted student training for LUKOIL.

In training a first-rate specialist, lectures and classes are half the battle, of course - but, as the saying goes, practice makes perfect. "Students must combine academic work with hands-on training by all means," Prof. Viktor Mordvinov, Cand. Sc. (Techn.), head of the Oil and Gas Field Development and Operation Chair, says. "Such training should be provided right on the job. In that way, a graduate will promptly learn to work in a team, and the managers will take a good look at the young specialist and size him up."

"Beginning with their fourth year of training, the institute's students will undergo on-the-job production training. Moreover, the institute will encourage all personnel categories - from workers to top managers - to take refresher courses," Igor Stolbov, Director of the new institute, says. "Besides everything else, we shall make efficient use of the sponsor money offered by LUKOIL. In 2004, for example, the Company allocated 2.2 mln. rubles for purchasing a complete well drilling simulator. Without modern equipment it is impossible to train a modern oilfield engineer, and had it not been for LUKOIL's support we would have had a rough time for it with budget financing being what it is," Anton Kukian, Dean of the Mining and Oil Department, said.

The Oil and Gas Institute emphasizes scientific research. Its faculty-members and students will engage in fundamental and applied research into oil and gas production, transportation and processing. The PSTU worked along these lines before, but after the establishment of the Oil and Gas Institute these research investigations will be better targeted and systemic. Nine basic chairs of the Oil and Gas Institute have achieved outstanding research results that have secured them the lead among the rest of the PSTU's chairs. The R&D products of the Mining and Oil Department, for example, has won high acclaim from the nation's leading research institutes and from the Academy of Sciences of the Russian Federation. The department is well known for its research projects concerned with the development and improvement of drilling and coring tools, confirming the predicted performance of structures seismically prepared for deep exploratory drilling for oil, examining and improving systems and means of production process electrification and automation, and so on. The results of research work are discussed at annual scientific and technical conferences at various levels - from in-house to international. Valery Ryabov, Dean of the Chemical Technology Faculty, says that LUKOIL's generous support for the University has given its best brains an impetus to do full-time research work within the walls of the University and obviated the need to seek a living on the side.

Following the establishment of the Oil and Gas Institute under the Perm State Technological University, personnel training for the oil and gas industry has assumed new organizational forms and a new quality in general. A new generation of specialists capable of meeting the formidable challenges of the 21st century is coming.

All articles
Oil of Russia, No. 3, 2004
© 1998-2019, "OIL OF RUSSIA".
"OIL OF RUSSIA" magazine welcomes comments and ideas from its readers.
Letters should be sent by regular mail, fax or e-mail.
All right reserved, including right of reproduction in whole or in parts in any form.