On 22–23 September, St. Petersburg hosted the closing ceremony of Young Vision Award, a joint project between Gazprom International, the sole specialised operator of Gazprom's foreign upstream projects, and Wintershall Russland GmbH, the subsidiary of the German oil and gas concern Wintershall managing the company's assets in Russia.
The project is aimed at encouraging students from technical universities to explore innovative solutions to environmental problems which can arise as a result of production activities.
The Russian side was represented on the competition’s jury by the deputy managing director of Gazprom International, Technical Director Valery Cholovsky; Wintershall Holding GmbH was represented by the head of its Technical Innovation and Research Department Bernd Leonhardt Jury members also included representatives from Imperial College (London, UK) and Delft Technical University (the Netherlands).
Under the rules of the competition, participants had to propose innovative ways of increasing oil yield without this impacting on the environment. At the same time, they had to convince the jury that their solutions were not just new but also economically viable. All the presentations were made in English.
Out of the twelve works presented, four made it through to the 2014 Young Vision Award final. They were developed by students from Siberian Federal University (Krasnoyarsk), Lomonosov Northern (Arctic) Federal University (Arkhangelsk), and Freiberg University of Mining and Technology (Germany).
The finalists were awarded the right to present their ideas at a scientific and technical conference in St. Petersburg.
Martin Müller of Freiberg University of Mining and Technology was declared the winner for his research on the topic "Using Brinell Hardness Testing of Samples of Clay Formations for Advanced Research in Hydraulic Fracturing". According to the competition rules, he will be given the chance to spend a week working at Gazprom International's production sites in Uzbekistan, where the company is simultaneously involved in two projects – a geological exploration project in several investment blocks, and the development of the Shakhpakhti oil field. Furthermore, if the international experts consider that there is a case for applying the winner's solutions in practice, the competition organisers will provide financial backing for the project.
The Young Vision Award was founded by Gazprom International and Wintershall Holding GmbH in 2013. The competition was won that year by Tomsk University students O. Bulgakova, I. Khadkevich and D. Rozhkova for their work on "The 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 containment and clean-up of oil spills. Last year's winners were present at this year's final, and they spoke about how their lives had changed since participating in the competition.
This year, representatives of 20 Russian and foreign universities were invited to take part in the competition. Applicants were selected from March to September 2014.
The Gazprom Group, a global energy company, attaches great significance to the training of staff in the oil and gas industry and the professional development of specialists. For this reason, every Gazprom subsidiary runs a series of employee training and development programmes, including in the field of environmental protection.
In 2014, as part of Gazprom's Year of Ecology, Gazprom International announced the start of its ECOnet project.
Econet is a special network of programmes and initiatives developed with the aim of protecting the natural environment, interacting with local communities and ensuring safe working conditions for the company’s employees, above all in the regions where Gazprom International operates.