with Olga Volkova, Head of Tenaris Moscow Office, Olga Volkova
Just to begin with an overview of your operations for our readers. You have a partnership with Rosneft and have worked on the Vankor field since 2008. Can you please highlight some of the projects and contributions that Tenaris has made to the Russian oil and gas industry?
We are able to provide the Russian oil and gas industry with advanced, field-proven technologies that complement the capabilities of local producers. In this case, Vankor is a very complicated project because of its location, in a remote, Arctic region where temperatures can drop to as low as -55 degrees Celsius. Tenaris has proprietary steel grade technology that is specifically suited for extreme cold weather applications. Also, due to the fact that Vankor includes challenging well profiles, there was a need for premium connections. Given that Vankor wells are drilled from pads, they tend to be extremely deviated. For this project we have provided TenarisHydril BlueTM Dopeless® connections.
Our Dopeless® technology, a dry, dope-free coating that specially caters to environmental and extreme drilling applications met Rosneft’s requirements for this field. Our Dopeless® technology is field proven, with a trajectory of almost ten years of use in challenging E&P projects worldwide. Dopeless® technology helps Rosneft to minimize HSE issues, protect the environment and make operations more efficient, hence reducing man hours and costs.
In addition to our sophisticated products –including our proprietary OCTG steel grades and our TenarisHydril premium connections- we also offer our customers field services to minimize risk and aim to guarantee safe operations. Our team of Russian field specialists can be deployed from our Moscow office to conduct studies, explain installation procedures, and monitor activities to help ensure the best results.
Russia has a very unique and challenging hydrocarbons environment. How is the Russian market influencing the design and development of your product base?
Russia has a lot of mature oil fields, which are becoming more complicated to explore. While there is a strong energy demand, oil and gas companies need more complex technology to facilitate their operations. Our Dopeless® technology debuted in Norway for ConocoPhillips in 2003, following a customer request to create a technology to comply with the government’s stringent environmental regulations for offshore operations. When we first applied the technology, almost a decade ago, we instantly understood that it added operational benefits as well as upholding environmental standards. We then brought it to Russia. Today, in addition to Rosneft, Dopeless® technology is also being used by Lukoil with their Caspian Sea operations where offshore risks are just as high.
Offshore exploration is generally a frontier field for Russia. What opportunity do you see in this development and what are Tenaris’s ambitions in this segment?
I believe growth prospects are strong because the trend whereby international companies bring with them major suppliers will continue for some time. Russia still lacks the experience in very complicated offshore fields and this can be compensated by the know-how of international oil and gas companies. Tenaris wants to contribute to the development of the complex projects, by providing technology and encouraging knowledge transfer.
Tenaris is already working on Sakhalin with major players: Rosneft, Exxon Neftegas, and Sakhalin Energy. For offshore work in Russia we partner with Lukoil. However, the country’s next biggest offshore project will be Shtokman. Tenaris already has experience working with Norwegian company, Statoil, and the Arctic environment is similar to the projects we have provided for in the past. We are eager to prove to other partners that our technology can help in the Russian offshore environment.
You have established partnerships with Rosneft and Lukoil. Do you find it difficult to move between the major clients and adapt to different corporate regulations and expectations for fulfilling contracts?
I do my best to satisfy my customers and help them to find solutions to all of their challenges. For example in addition to field services, we can assist in well design. We inform customers of best way to apply our tubular technologies for their particular project, based on successful previous experiences.
Having previously worked in other European offices you are now translating the Tenaris business philosophy into the Russian market. How different is this office from other countries given the market specificities?
Russia is a very significant and specific market, and that’s why we have a Russian national as Country Manager. You need to be local in order to understand the environment, local customs, and customer requirements. This local presence is supported by a global network of manufacturing facilities and commercial offices in over 25 countries
Personally, I worked for a long time as a procurement officer for major oil and gas companies. Following this experience, I know my customers, assessed their needs, and recognized the difficulties that they faced with technical challenges, budget limitations, short delivery times, and multiple demands to manage. I therefore understand their requirements very well and am always trying my best to translate what I am doing for them what I would do for myself.
What would be your final message to our regards about Tenaris and its ambitions in the Russian oil and gas industry?
To my customers I would say that we are always here to provide support. We stand ready to take on future E&P challenges in Russia, with a strong R&D program to help propose solutions and sometimes even anticipate the needs of the market. We are an international company but our Russian team understands the local requirements and culture. We want the Russian oil and gas industry to prosperously grow and we will contribute to this process through knowledge sharing and the provision of our technologies.