NOVOMET: oil industry sits on the powder

"Consumers are our first products was Irbitsky motorcycle factory, which produced motorcycles" Ural "- says CEO" NOVOMET "Oleg Perelman. — They then made a hundred and fifty thousand motorcycles a year. " The customer paid the Perm inhabitants in kind. "In the afternoon we did the sleeve of powder, and at night unloading cars with brand new" Ural ", then to razvezti their shopping" — tells of a time Alexander Rabinovich, director of science and new technology "Novomet."


The young company was able to eliminate from Perm technological backwardness of the domestic oil production equipment. With their know-how she made out of old Russian invention, a new world bestseller. 
The most interesting place in the company, which is the first in the world has learned to make parts stage pumps for oil production by powder metallurgy — powder shop. Work in full swing. A slight depression in the press frame is filled with fine powder purple-gray color, and there on top of the punch is lowered. A couple of seconds, the punch goes up and pushes the hidden mechanism of deepening monolithic brilliant detail.

The item is a circular disk with a diameter of sixty millimeters short transverse ribs — like a flame divider in burners gas stoves. It is an integral part of the stage — the main working body of a submersible centrifugal pump, which pumps oil from an oil well. Quality levels determines the efficiency and reliability of the pump: rotating stage at up to 12 thousand revolutions per minute and up to the surface of tens tons per day. This process is practically continuously for several years.

  It's hard to believe that this neat, tidy, cast steel shine the item is received from a nondescript faded powder. Automatic scraper meanwhile grabbed the recess new batch of gray powder, and the focus was repeated again. I would like to look under the bed press: who is there served these beautiful, smooth metal Circuits?

Until recently, the fact that the working bodies of the pump can be produced by powder metallurgy, almost no one believed. Almost, but a handful of stubborn scientists who decided to prove the opposite, and in the early 90's founded the company "Novomet."

For 18 years, brave not only managed to silence the skeptics, but also create a competitive high-tech business. Today "Novomet" with a turnover of over 200 million dollars and three thousand employees of one of the three leading domestic manufacturers of oilfield equipment. The technological level of this young company has virtually no way inferior to their American competitors with their 80-year history of the development of submersible pumps.

Six brave National Engineering and Technology Center of powder metallurgy (PM RITC), out of whom the founders of the "Novomet" was created at the Perm Polytechnic Institute in 1972 on the initiative of academician Vladimir Antsiferova. The Centre is structurally heterogeneous powder materials with desired properties and creating technology manufacturing the details for different applications — from soldering irons and sewing machines to the defense and space industries. According to the technology center have done, for example, a special nickel foam for space shuttle "Buran". The foam, which is a frozen form, is a steel-gray hard foam, dispersed the air stream flowing out of the cargo bay "Burana" at take-off, these jets are not knocked off course by a booster.

By the end of the 80s, when the flow of orders from the aerospace industry and the military-industrial complex has dried up, the center's specialists have started to look for the use of their competencies in more mundane areas. Submersible pumps for oil appeared on their way by accident.

In 1990 he came to Perm deputy oil minister of the USSR Alekperov — agitate city defense industry to develop in areas including conversion and production of oil field equipment. "Defence of orders in the previous volumes will no longer be" — was his main argument. The idea proposed and leadership RITZ PM. To implement it, that is a production stage submersible centrifugal pump by powder metallurgy, decided six academic staff of the center. The leader of the team was Oleg Perelman. He took on the enormous responsibility: no one in the world has done stage oil pump of the powders in commercial quantities, and those who have tried to do, quickly rejected the idea. Fortunately, leadership Perelman were stronger arguments of skeptics and opponents of the idea of "stages of powder", and the team went to the leader. With this bold six in 1991 and started the company "Novomet."

To survive and gain time to develop the technology of production steps, the company began producing conventional sleeve — the most simple and inexpensive product that can be produced by powder metallurgy. "Consumers are our first products was Irbitsky motorcycle factory, which produced motorcycles" Ural "- says CEO" NOVOMET "Oleg Perelman. — They then made a hundred and fifty thousand motorcycles a year. " The customer paid the Perm inhabitants in kind. "In the afternoon we did the sleeve of powder, and at night unloading cars with brand new" Ural ", then to razvezti their shopping" — tells of a time Alexander Rabinovich,
director of science and new technology "Novomet."

Working on two fronts lasted more than one and a half years: former scholars pressed sleeves and learned to make from the same powder-stage pumps — check your laboratory developments in plant and process conditions practiced on an industrial scale. As a result, they have achieved the. In 1992 was released the first five thousand steps for submersible oil pump for the first time in the world made by a unique powder technology.

"The first pump that is lowered into the well with our steps, worked for 945 days. It was a real miracle — pumps with cast steps used to work no more than 150 days — says Oleg Perelman. — All doubts about the quality of the powder components have disappeared. " Skeptics had to admit that the steps of the powder can make more of these steps work reliably.

Russian pumps of America The creators of "NOVOMET" at the expense of powder technology have raised the level of quality of domestic pump equipment in order, pulling him to the world's best, and this is their first big achievement. And international best practice at the time of the formation of "Novomet" were (and still are) pumping stations of the American firm REDA. Few people know that the title of the world's leading manufacturer of submersible pump equipment stands for "Russian Electro Dynamo Arutyunov." Armais Arutyunov — another name among the well-known along with Sikorski and Zvorykin breakthrough development which have been created in Russia, but realized in the West. In electric submersible pump is the same story.

At the beginning of the last century Russian engineer Arutyunov invented submersible motor. More precisely, came up with a way to protect from the effects of the liquid medium, which, in fact, allow the engine to operate under water. Centrifugal pumps had already been extensively used in many industries, but Arutyunov was able to increase their productivity. It simplified the scapular bars in the directing device level, giving an increase in the diameter of the impeller. With this solution in stages significantly increased the pressure.

Russia could become a leader in submersible pump technology, but did not take home the idea of the inventor, and Arutyunov in the early 20's went first to Austria and then to the United States. There, his design proved to be very useful. States at the time, have been booming oil production. U.S. oil producers quickly realized that a high-performance pump Arutyunov, combined with his own submersible motor can produce much more oil than the inefficient rocking.

In 1926, under Arutyunov was created first workshop, and then firm REDA, which was headed by Russian engineer until his death. Before the Second World War, no one except the REDA, either in the U.S. or in other countries has not issued such equipment.

Soviet oil industry met with the best in the world submersible pumps Arutyunov in 1943, when the Soviet Union was of U.S. Lend-Lease 53 installation company REDA. Immediately after the war, when they were discovered large oil fields in Tatarstan, Bashkortostan and the Volga region, the Ministry of Petroleum sent to the United States delegation to the Soviet engineers — to learn from the experience in Arutyunov. Rumor Arutyunov, rejoicing that country still needed a result of the work of his life, not only showed their colleagues from the Union of development, but also gave the finished drawings.

To date, the electric submersible pumps have become indispensable workhorses of the global oil industry — they pump oil in all regions of the world. According to industry experts, nearly a hundred years after Arutyunov in the world is not created any alternative equipment for the oil, which would be as a high-performance, easy to use and quite unpretentious. Now in Russia for more than 75% of the oil it produces electric submersible pumps.

Powder against Ni-Resist Details of the compacted powder from the press transported in a large bright room — shop gluing. A friendly smiling woman in a clean container scarf takes from one part and dunk them in a large container with a thick, dark brown substance. In response, the tank contents vybulkivaet large bubbles on the surface. This ugly-looking substance is able to tightly "solder" metal parts.

Her recipe — the main know-how Alexander Rabinovich, who worked at the Ritz composite powder materials. It was on him early in the history of the company made a bid Perelman and not lost. In "Novomet" Rabinovich oversees all engineering and design departments, and an ideologue of innovative projects.

With the help of a woman of substance-adhesive powder neatly connects the two parts. The process resembles the preparation of meringue: the two halves of these cakes just fasten the creamy layer. Woman puts fabricated metal "cake" in the pan with high sides and dunks into the substance of the following detail. The process is repeated, the tray quickly filled "cake."

After the death of … Arutyunov States continued to actively develop the theme of the pump — they were in the lead, not only on technology but also on the materials. For downhole equipment developed a special alloy — Ni-Resist, which is a highly doped iron with a high content of nickel (about 14%). This alloy has a high resistance to mechanical and corrosion deterioration. But in the Soviet Union were high alloys for military and space applications, oil companies have the luxury of not supposed to. "Oil field equipment made out of what was left. Finally dropped to a simple gray cast iron. This is a lower class, in fact it is pure iron, — says Oleg Perelman. — The fact that it will work well in a month, no one cared. "

Due to outdated technology and lack of high-quality alloy Oil Pump in the Soviet Union was doomed to lag. "The industry has been very limited in the materials. In addition, it held back production technology: the working bodies of the pump is produced by injection into the ground, in which the mass of disadvantages: low precision mold parts with complex geometries, large surface roughness. In addition, this technology is very time consuming and gives a lot of marriage — says Sharifzhan Agueyev, Deputy Director General for Research Design Bureau for rodless pumps partner "NOVOMET." — And the American pump was a different level of quality — they cast their level of investment cast Ni-Resist. Therefore, during the Soviet times we could not catch up with them either in quality or efficiency. "

The appearance on the scene "Novomet" with a unique powder technology has removed these problems at once. "As opposed to casting into the ground powder technology provides a hydraulically smooth surface and precise form," — says Oleg Perelman. Due to this geometry, the efficiency at the same level of powder is always higher than the cast. However, these advantages of powder metallurgy have not opened Perm inhabitants quick and easy entry into the market of oilfield equipment. On this market, they made their way for more than five years.

The first major client "Novomet" became "Surgutneftegas". "They saw our powder stage at the show, and immediately ordered 75,000 units for delivery in three months. And we have at the company then had about a hundred people, and we did just 20,000 steps a year — tells the story of the first contract Oleg Perelman. — Of course, we got up to the ears, was detained for two months of the order, but did. And our stage itself is very well established. " During these stages "Surgutneftegaz" paid too kind: in addres
s "Novomet" went echelons of crude oil, which is not so easy to sell.

Until the mid-90s "Novomet" released only step that is complete. The next move in business development Perm inhabitants prompted oil companies themselves — repair facility, which "Novomet" supplied the stage for the repair of pumps: "Guys, we have refurbished pumps with your steps work better than new. Why do not you do the whole pump? "Novometovtsy hint heard and in 1998 won the tender of the same" Surgut "to supply a hundred pumps.

Having mastered the pump, they have learned to do and the electric motor — an integral component of any pump station. Then developed and started production related equipment — gas separators, dispersants filter to protect the pump and motor from mechanical impurities and undissolved gas, etc. As a result, since 2002, "Novomet" produces complex high-tech product — fully complete submersible pump for oil production. The price of such a system on the market comes to 100 thousand dollars.

No one but us Splice trays out of the shop with a "cake" is moved to the oven — sooty construction of a few tens of meters from the roof of the house — and placed on the conveyor belt-like flap in front of the door. The operator puts on top of each "cake" wide flat copper ring. In the furnace, copper impregnate the porous powder article and will provide the necessary strength to the end product. Calcination continues for 14 hours at a temperature of about one thousand degrees. In the firing process, the ammonia is fed into the furnace, which is heated in platinum cracker is decomposed into nitrogen and hydrogen.

Sintered parts with bronze shimmer of copper absorbed go to the opposite end of the furnace. Now this is one piece — stage submersible pump. Trying to break the former components of the "cake" is as useless as a nutcracker solid metal bar. "No Seam — proudly says Alexander Rabinovich, after waiting a while I'll look at the item from all sides. — The item was equiresistant. If you hit a chisel — are broken down anywhere, not only at the place of glue. "

  • Photo: Mitya Aleshkovsky
  • Photo: Mitya Aleshkovsky

  The secret of equal strength — in the special properties of the adhesive substance and modes of sintering. It is another knowhow novometovtsev which provides important advantages final product. "Due to the special alloying elements and unique technologies of powder compounds targeted items we can dope and protect it from wear those design elements that are more prone to aggressive influences and deformations — explains Gennady Dorogokupetz, CTO "NOVOMET." — As a result, our pumps have greater resistance to wear, they are more reliable and durable than analogues of other companies. "

"When we entered the market of oilfield equipment, there already attended the world's largest pumping plant Almetyevsky" ALNAS "and the oldest in the industry Moscow plant" The Wrestler. " That is the standard pump units on the market have been, and in sufficient quantities, — says Oleg Perelman. — That is why we decided that we should do something none of our competitors can not do. "

This approach has defined innovation strategy of the company: Permian focused on the development of equipment for heavy-duty oil production. Elevated levels of associated gas, a large number of mechanical impurities, the high temperature in the well, flooding, salt deposits, highly viscous oil — this is an incomplete list of complications with which the oil companies are facing in the extraction of the black gold. So, for one of the fields of Yukos novometovtsy once created a custom pump for the well, which was a lot of sand. "By changing the geometry of the steps we have made a system that works with low efficiency, but it is not clogged with dirt for a long time," — says Oleg project that Perelman. Yukos bought then at "Novomet" hundreds of such pumps.

Innovative models of equipment make up a quarter of the total issue "Novomet." Most of them have no analogues in Russia, and some — and in the world. The cost of development and production of unique sets of equipment comes to $ 1 million.

Tandem with the potential Next, the sintering stage of the production chain — machining. After a wretched equip the majority of domestic machine-building enterprises processing plant "Novomet" pleasing to the eye with the most modern precision equipment — more than four dozen Japanese and Austrian automated machining centers. All this splendor is collected here for the last five years: experts "Novomet" have traveled halfway around the world to select the best of the best. "At each stage — up to fifteen surfaces processing. And when rotating at a speed of several thousand revolutions per minute precision mold parts and stages of their alignment is critical, "- explains Alexander Rabinovich high requirements to the equipment.

We are coming to the Japanese machine-robot MAZAK. Rabinovich carefully picks up the finished part, just roll down the chute of the machine — it's still hot. This is the crown of a centrifugal vortex swirl stage — one of the most beautiful innovations of engineers "Novomet." Due to the extra blades on the impeller crown better captures the gas-liquid mixture. Produce a high-quality design can only be on powder technology. "If the normal level of working with the content of the associated gas in oil to 25 percent, then this — to 35 — emphasizes the advantages of developing Sharifzhan Agueyev. — In addition, due to the vortex crown "NOVOMET" managed to increase its pressure level of 20 percent. "

For the generation of the serial production of a new type of pump stage company in 2000 won the Government of the Russian Federation in the field of science and technology.

Focusing on innovation makes novometovtsev work with no less pressure than their own level in the wells: the creation of new technology from idea to finished product takes three to six months. Most of the innovative products developed Perm together with experts on rodless pumps EDO (EDO BN). Since 1950, the bureau had been the leading industry center for electrical submersible oil pumps in the Ministry of Petroleum Industry of the USSR. In the 40 years before the collapse of the country and the industry in the bureau had to do and partly to test hundreds of designs — modification steps, electric motors, and so on. Most of these developments in the Soviet times and has not reached the wells. Partly because of the shortage of high quality alloys, partly due to the fact that Soviet factories mastered the new technique very reluctantly. "The Design Bureau has accumulated huge backlogs on the steps — lots of technical solutions that are designed and tested, and the results of tests showing the dead-end paths and failed ideas. Thanks to them, we know what not to do, and so not to waste time and money, "- says Oleg Perelman, who discovered and to rate it in the late 80's, as soon as you started doing steps.

Novometovtsy try to use the maximum backlogs, expertise and experience of engineers bureau. For example, developments on the steps of a small diameter pump installations — 4th dimension (outer diameter 86 mm) and the third dimension (outer diameter 81 mm) — have been made in the bureau BN back in the 80's, but to "Novomet" domestic manufacturers of such equipment is not produced, limited set of standard sizes: 5 (92 mm), 5A (103 mm) and 6 (114 mm). Meanwhile,
there is a fairly large fund small diameter wells that were originally intended for exploration or maintenance purposes, but in times of high oil market from these wells profitable to extract oil. Thus, the first small install third dimension in Perm acquired TNK-BP to develop the former exploration well. In the category of small diameter wells and ordinary wells go, where to put the leaky casings, metal patch, and then pumps the standard sizes do not go there. With no equipment for the operation of such wells, oil simply throwing them. Now this is a market for innovative products "Novomet", and the competition in this niche in Perm yet.

Apparently, the tandem of "Novomet" — OKB BN will go far. Among the joint innovation projects for the future — the development of equipment for the separate operation of recovery (when the well intersects two or more oil-bearing formation, each layer should be developed separately) for a fundamentally new way pipeless oil production, has other ideas. It is no accident creativity ligament Agueyev-Perelman very concerned about foreign competition. The Design Bureau told the Americans repeatedly offered Ageev lot of money just for the fact that it did not work with Perelman.

Skewers for the world market The assembly shop, we make our way carefully between the long rows of shelves that are filled with thin steel sausages of different lengths. "There are certain stages of gaining pump section as we speak — strung kebabs — commented on the move Mikhail Melnikov, director of production "NOVOMET." — Then, of several sections is going to pump installation. " All aspects of the installation, including the electric motor, planted on a common shaft and an oil well at a depth of 1.5-2.5 km rotate synchronously.

Inhabitants racks waiting to be tested. Each section of the assembled before shipment is checked on a special stand the basic parameters — pressure and efficiency (in order to meet stated) and the level of vibration, which depends on the reliability of the equipment. "Vibration — the biggest threat to the pump. At high levels of vibration possible dismemberment of the installation. This is an emergency situation — says Mikhail Melnikov. — If this happens, the extraction process stops and you catch the drowned section at the bottom of the well. " Depending on the number of sections and the engine power pump unit length can be from 20 to 55 meters. Therefore, the final assembly of individual sections of the pump and its docking with the electric motor is made not in the shop, but directly in the field.

"Our assortment line — one of the most extensive among the world's producers. In doing so, we do not concede a recognized market leader — U.S. companies REDA and Centrilift, — says Yuri Tsvetkov, Head of Strategy and Marketing "NOVOMET." — For example, our company has created a unique installation of the fifth dimension, able to pump out 500 or more cubic meters of reservoir fluid per day. Such facilities are not offered one of the world's manufacturers — standard pumps fifth dimension is lifted from the well is only 200 cubic meters per day. "

  • Photo: Mitya Aleshkovsky
  • Photo: Mitya Aleshkovsky

However, "Novomet" perfects his technique and creates a new much faster than the demand for Russian oil companies a reliable, functional equipment. Oil companies operating manager, still prefer the "cheap and cheerful" equipment: let it break after a month or two, but it will not be subject to unnecessary trouble rules of operation of highly reliable and relatively expensive technology.

"Novomet" trying different ways to educate the consumer, however, to overcome inertia and change the established rules of conduct for the whole industry and the efforts of one company is not enough. Therefore, despite the fact that the Russian market submersible pump equipment accounts for almost 60% of the world, for the company, which relied on innovation, this market is not very interesting.

In order not to lose the pace of development and remain true to its innovation strategy, Permian in 2007 in a world market — began to explore North Africa and the Middle East. In particular, the contract for the supply of equipment for the company that produces oil in Sudan. Innovators believe that the time to capture the world market is now very successful — the proportion of stranded oil is increasing, and this trend is becoming a headache all the oil companies. "Our niche is where the oil is difficult to extract. And now a tendency to complicate the extraction conditions manifested everywhere in the world. Fountains are drying, light oil run out, — says Yuri Tsvetkov. — And we have a lot of technology just for complicated conditions or already established, or are in development. Here we are stronger than many in the world. "

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