Andrey Burtsev, commercial director for Middle East, Africa, and Asia markets at Interpipe speaks to Pipeline Magazine about new pipe technology to serve well-efficiency and growth in production in an increasingly complicated drilling environment.
What are some of your new technologies to serve the latest demand trends in pipes?
At Interpipe, we strive to be in pace with the latest market trends. Complication of well drilling conditions have created the demand for more intelligent pipe products, with higher safety and efficiency requirements. As a pipe producer for the oil and gas industry, Interpipe constantly develops new steel grades and premium connections for this field.
In 2016, the company signed a license agreement with JFE Steel Corporation in order to perform full-cycle production of the JFEBEAR premium connection for the CIS market. In addition, our own premium connection UPJ has been produced for more than 10 years and successfully applied in vertical and controlled directional wells. Interpipe’s R&D team is currently at the final stage of development of the gas-tight premium connection for tough environmental conditions. The team is also working on steel grades that exceed API requirements for increased H2S level.
We also keep the construction industry in focus. Being the UL 852 certified producer, we are constantly widening the product range for this area of application. In 2016, we mastered new pipe dimension of OD of half inch and three-quarters of an inch and SHC 40-80. This year we are on target to finish construction of a pipe galvanising line which will provide our customers with high quality, mill-galvanised products.
What innovation is taking place to improve operational efficiency?
Operational efficiency is crucial for the successful business performance. Innovation is a cornerstone of Interpipe’s business.
The vertically integrated business structure allows us to control the quality on all stages – from steel melting to the shipment of finished products to our customers. Our state-of-the-art steel melting complex, Interpipe Steel, was built in 2012 and is fully automated and based on innovative technologies. Interpipe Steel ensures high levels of quality and operational efficiency.
Over the last 10 years we have been developing and increasing our export capabilities. During 2012 and 2013, the company completed a huge investment programme, including launch of the new finishing line with automated non-destructive testing equipment. This year we are scheduled to commission another finishing line in order to enhance the production capacities.
We develop our IT systems to control maintenance of the equipment, to monitor its availability and also to improve the traceability of each manufactured pipe.
How are customers’ needs changing as they look to address an environment of volatile oil prices?
Oil and gas companies continue to strive for a growth in production rates of existing wells. Consequently, this leads to raising the requirements necessary for well construction and equipment, especially pipes. In addition, there is a tendency of increasing in shale oil production, namely in America. As a result, now we are developing premium solutions in both directions, providing required performance characteristics and quality level.
What are the implications of digitalisation on pipes technology?
Interpipe is building a unified IT system in key areas, including production and quality control, product traceability, maintenance, logistics, treasury and bookkeeping, and so on. For example, the company is one of Ukraine’s pioneers in launching an e-procurement system instead of paper-based tenders. Any supplier can accredit independently and receive information about tenders which are being processed. Digitalisation plays a major role in building a supply chain. Our IT system organises production plans and orders so we can track an order’s progress at any point.
How do Middle Eastern clients’ needs differ from clients in other regions due to climate, shallow waters and EOR/deep drilling etc.?
Being one of the biggest markets for pipe products, the Middle East is one of the most competitive markets, due to its openness to various suppliers, and is one of the most technically advanced markets with tough end-user requirements. Different types of wells and oils require different approaches and technologies for oil extraction. For example, large amount of heavy oil is produced in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, by applying a steam injector in addition to producing oil well. This influences us as a pipe products supplier because thermal methods require high quality boiler pipes, which should be qualified by oil companies as well as OCTG. We manufacture required product range and are working to be approved for supplies, especially for KOC’s needs.
In general, the conditions of drilling become more complicated, with the increase of high-deviation wells into high formation pressure. This poses the demand for new products with premium connections.
By considering environment and individual customers’ needs, we can offer complex solutions. Our technical managers can consult clients on choosing proper pipes in accordance with well conditions and economic expediency, provide assistance during make-up process and running OCTG. In addition, we can organise a ‘just-in-time’ delivery to avoid the overflowing of their warehouses.