Russia looks to substitute technology imports

Russian gas giant Gapzrom is to work with state-owned RUSNANO, a nanotechnology technology commercialization outfit, to develop new technologies and help substitute imported products into Gazprom's production facilities. 

The firm has also signed agreements with Russian pipe manufacturers, also aimed at import substitution. 

Both sets of agreements come as Russia continues to be under US and EU sanctions for its involvement in the Ukraine crisis. The sanctions have focused specifically on oilfield goods and services, restricting Russian access to western oilfield technology, including rigs. The move has led to the likes of US oilfield services giant Schlumberger to remove staff from Russia. 

“Import substitution is Gazprom's priority. We've been consistently and seriously engaged in this activity for many years. I am confident that the effect from RUSNANO's participation will be accumulated every year,” said Gazprom management committee chairman Alexey Miller. 

After a meeting between Miller and RUSNANO executive board chairman Anatoly Chubais, proposals were put forward for three categories of import-substituting materials and equipment for Gazprom: chemicals, pipes & insulation materials, and equipment for LNG production. 

RUSNANO will also cooperate with the New Technologies in Gas Industry Association of Equipment Manufacturers, with a view to pool the resources of nanotech companies and oil and gas equipment manufacturers.

Gazprom also signed a series of Sci-Tech Cooperation Programs, to run 2015 to 2020, between it and Russian pipe manufacturers: the United Metallurgical Company, Severstal, the Pipe Metallurgical Company and the Chelyabinsk Pipe Rolling Plant. 

The programs will contribute to higher construction and operation efficiency of gas production, transmission and processing facilities equipped in accordance with the latest and strictest requirements, Gazprom says. The programs also provide for pilot manufacturing of pipes of higher cold resistance, heat- insulated and highly tight-threaded ones, as well as those intended for offshore gas production and operation in a hostile environment. Onshore gas pipelines will be constructed using large-diameter pipes of high strength – up to K90 (X120) (K65 (X80) pipes are used now) – fit for operation under super-high pressure. Such pipes will allow reducing steel consumption for future gas pipelines as well as cutting down the costs of long-distance gas transmission due to a smaller number of compressor stations.

The new solutions will be needed, primarily in development operations on the Yamal Peninsula, Eastern Siberia and the Far East, Gazprom says.

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