In the modern context companies of the fuel and energy complex and energy-related industries are undergoing reforms: they are changing their business approaches and strategies from the perspective of increasing their efficiency. Modern technologies and solutions allow decreasing costs, increasing performance, ramping up output, computerizing and accelerating processes, increasing the quality of products and so on. It is the implementation of developments and innovations and the increase of efficiency that are becoming the key to success and development in the context of decreasing prices for energy resources and, as a result, return on business.
Decrease of Energy Intensity
The structural transformations of the Russian economy and the geopolitical crisis resulted in a slump in demand for energy carries and a drop in prices.
The fuel and energy complex and energy-related industries are therefore left with only one inevitable option - first and foremost to strive to increase the efficiency of use of energy resources at all stages of the energy chain. In such a case, a positive effect may take the form of a decrease in demand for “raw” energy resources and of an increase in demand for derivative products.
According to industrial statistics, the energy intensity of Russian GDP was 2-2.5 times higher than the similar indicators of developed countries before the 1990s; afterwards it increased even more since the industrial sector of the country was becoming more and more “heavy”, but the capacities were not used at full power. Simultaneously, the production output of Russian low energy-intensive industries, to put it simply, of derivatives products, was decreasing as was the demand for them. On the other hand, such energy-intensive industry as ferrous and non-ferrous metallurgy felt grand since they were export-oriented and not customized to the domestic customer. These structural factors impaired the technological state of the fuel and energy complex, and it all combined led to an increase of expenses incurred by the economy, the budget, companies and people on energy supply, and had a very adverse effect upon the competitive ability of domestic goods and service manufacturers on the international stage.
It is obvious that the restoration of the Russian market in general and of the fuel and energy complex in particular can largely rely upon the establishment of new energy-intensive, customer market oriented processing industries. Nowadays this fact is acknowledged by the state and companies of the fuel and energy complex and related industries alike.
It is necessary to make investments into developments and technologies and to receive state aid in order to reduce costs. The investment environment in the country has recently been far from perfect, though domestic investors and owners are actively investing into production modernization and automation.
State aid is granted to high-availability technologies and technical solutions which can help business increase economic efficiency by times, not by some percentage points. The research and engineering development of the fuel and energy complex therefore lies in using modern information knowledge- and energy-intensive technologies. In such a case, a potential effect of implementing innovations in, for instance, the gas or oil extraction industries can take the form of a 30% reduction of capital expenses at a fixed energy resource recovery rate.
Today some experts call for using the idle production capacities of processing industries to find a way out of the existing recession. It can truly be topical for high tech metallurgical production and machine-building industry. Their products are still in great demand among corporations of the fuel and energy complex since there are a lot of infrastructural projects are implemented and work is carried out to increase production efficiency. At the same time, as for the quality-to-price ratio, these products are often highly competitive, and as for their technological characteristics, they are some of the best.
Nowadays Russian enterprises have mastered around 90% of the required oil equipment range. For the most part its technical level and quality of devices are on par with the best global products. And the examples of the existing Russian enterprises demonstrate that they are ready to develop their technologies on a constant basis.
Example of ChTPZ
For instance, the factories, which are part of the ChTPZ Group, constantly work on the characteristics of durability and wear quality of their products in order to satisfy the needs of operating companies in the best possible manner. As for the recent examples in this field, in April 2016 Pervouralsk New Pipe Plant (part of the ChTPZ Group) commissioned a German ten-roll flattening machine Reika and a disc pipe cutting line Prestar. The new equipment allows increasing the quality of pipe flattening and cutting, expanding the line of produced pipes and increasing the production capacities by 25%. More than 200 million Rubles were invested in the project.
“Continuous improvement is one of the main principles of White Metallurgy. The new line will allow the enterprise to increase the production volumes of boiler and precision (high-accuracy) pipes for the fuel and energy complex, machine-building industry, aircraft and automotive engineering. I am convinced that our customers will take a favorable view of the new capacities of our enterprise”, said Alexander Grubman, Director of the ChTPZ Group, about this innovation.
Pervouralsk New Pipe Plant modernized the production of long-length stainless pipes in May. A cold reducing mill, a grinding complex and a flattening machine for the production of cold-deformed stainless pipes, were commissioned. The investment project will increase the production volumes and quality and decrease expenses on manufacturing products for the nuclear and machine-building industries. There were also invested approximately 200 million Rubles. The mill’s designed capacity is 1.1 million meters of pipes per year. The efficiency of the new equipment is 1.5 times higher than that of the existing one, but the accuracy of finished products is significantly higher.
ChTPZ (“Height 239” shop) also produces pipes for large infrastructure projects, for instance, for the international project “Nord Stream 2”; these are pipes with internal and external anti-corrosion coatings, i.e. they are designed for operation in severe environmental conditions.
Today the result of technical progress made by the industries of the fuel and energy complex and equipment production for energy industries, including the metallurgical industry, lies in an increase of the refining depth of energy products. The export orientation of the fuel and energy complex remains in place, though the volumes of oil refining and production of main oil products are increasing. In 2015 the oil refining depth exceeded 74%, whereas in the 1990s it was 63-65%. A rise in efficiency is evident. However there are still new challenges ahead: the oil refining depth at oil refineries in the USA is approximately 90%, while at the best of them it can reach up to 98%.
It is still more profitable to export crude oil in Russia, not derivative or petrochemical products. In view of this, the fuel and energy complex remains very susceptible to market price fluctuations at global markets. But the existing conditions became a stimulus to change the business model, a driver to increase the technical level and to decreases costs. In light of this, the development of new and more efficient fields, including in isolated regions with the help of a new generation of metallurgic equipment, is increasing.