A delegation from Gazprom International, Gazprom’s single operator in the area of hydrocarbon exploration and development outside the Russian Federation, took part in the international exhibition and conference RAO/CIS Offshore 2013, devoted to the exploration of energy resources of the continental shelf of the Russian Arctic.
The event was held on 10-13 September in St Petersburg and was attended by more than 600 delegates from 21 countries, representing major oil-and-gas extraction, service, research and engineering companies: Gazprom, Rosneft, Wintershall, Halliburton, Schlumberger, Lukoil, Total, Statoil, FMC Technologies, Sevmash and many others.
238 countries from around the world presented various investment projects and technologies, nautical structures and potential technical resources for the shelf’s infrastructure development.
During the plenary sessions and themed round-tables, conference delegates discussed a broad range of topics associated with the degree to which the shelf’s resources had been studied, the technical and economic assessment of basic projects, the development of the current technological base, and industrial and environmental safety.
As part of the conference and exhibition the stands of the German Wintershall and Gazprom International representatives summarised the Young Vision Award joint project for recruiting students from Russian and German technical higher educational establishments in searching for innovative solutions to environmental problems that be emerge as a result of work on the shelf.
The international panel, whose Russian representative was Roman Kuznetsov, deputy managing director of Gazprom International, was asked to judge work by students from the Lomonosov Moscow State University, Tomsk Polytechnic University, with whom Gazprom has cooperated for some time, and the German Clausthal Technological University.
The contestants were asked to provide options for minimising or preventing at least one of the more serious technological factors that may have a negative impact on the environment. At the same time, the contestants had to convince the members of the panel that their suggested solutions were not only genuinely innovative but also economical viable.
The competition was won by students from Tomsk University - O. Bulgakova, I.Khadkevich and D. Rozhkova - on the topic ‘Environmental Impact of oil extraction on the Arctic shelf’, in which they justified the possibility and viability of using Tomsk’s unique peat as a natural absorbent in the localisation and clean-up of oil spills.
In the words of Bernd Leonhardt, head of the department of scientific research and innovative technologies of Wintershall, the panel’s decision was not an easy one. This was because of the uniformly high level of preparation of all the participants, their non-standard approach to resolving the problems set by the competition and their excellent knowledge of the subject.
Deputy managing director of Gazprom International, Alexey Shebarshin, said during the competition’s closing ceremony when speaking to its contestants: “A large number of major companies, including Gazprom and Wintershall, is faced with very serious tasks in exploring the shelf deposits, and without considerable systematic work on ensuring environmental safety and constant development in this very important field, any successful work on the shelf is impossible. Gazprom International strictly observes all the environmental legislation standards in the countries where it operates; this is one of the basic priorities of our work. Within Gazprom, 2013 is well-known as the year of the environment; Gazprom International is carrying out the Econet project. All this, just like the competition we have been holding, bears witness to the increased interest of business in non-standard approaches to solving environmental problems with the help of modern creative technologies.”
As first prize, the competition winners were awarded a two-week work placement in Wintershall in Germany.
Gazprom has named 2013 “The Year of the Environment”. In connection with this Gazprom International declared that it was beginning to carry out the Econet project (ECONet), designed primarily to protect the natural environment in regions where it operates.
Econet is a special network of programmes and initiatives developed with the aim of protecting the natural environment, interacting with local bodies and also ensuring the safe working conditions of the company’s employees. This is contained in the project’s name:
E: Environmental sustainability
C: Corporate responsibility.
О: Operational safety
Thus, Gazprom International supports environmental initiatives, not only as part of a specific project but also on a global scale. The company intends in the future to develop emerging business opportunities while not forgetting its responsibility to the natural world and mankind. The company’s collectives cultivate an atmosphere of respect for the environment. Environmental problems are resolved as priorities rooted in the best international standards.