December 30, 2020
The construction of the Power of Siberia gas pipeline ushered in a new stage in the development of the entire Amur Region. Here, a new industry – a gas industry – is being built essentially from scratch. The Amur Gas Processing Plant (GPP) is one of the key facilities that are under construction near the town of Svobodny. Just like a magnet, this ambitious project has drawn enormous resources to the region, and the most important of these resources is people.
In this photo essay, we will show you how Gazprom builds up its labor pool in the Amur Region and what the living conditions are like for the Amur GPP’s employees.
Giant cranes, gas separation columns as tall as 30-storey buildings, structures and pipelines spanning dozens of kilometers, and steel frameworks of future production buildings. This is what the 900-hectare construction site looks like today, although it used to be an empty field just five years ago.
The GPP in the Amur Region will rank among the world’s most powerful gas processing facilities, producing 42 billion cubic meters of gas per year. Multi-component natural gas from the Chayandinskoye and Kovyktinskoye fields will come here via the Power of Siberia gas pipeline. The gas will be processed to extract not only ethane, propane, butane and pentane-hexane fraction, but also helium, an extremely valuable component. The Amur GPP is expected to set a world record for helium production with an annual output of up to 60 million cubic meters. The plant will have six production trains, two of which will become operational as early as in 2021.
As of 2020, the construction is at its peak. More than 30,000 people, from laborers to highly qualified specialists, are working simultaneously at the construction site. This team is truly multinational, with citizens of 23 countries.
Gazprom Pererabotka Blagoveshchensk is already recruiting personnel for the new plant. Over a third of the permanent employees hired so far are residents of the Amur Region.
By the way, if you are interested in working at the Amur GPP, current job openings are posted here. (in Russian). Thanks to this extensive project, the nearby town of Svobodny, which is a little over a hundred years old, is turning into the gas capital of the Amur River region.
In order to provide housing for the current and future employees of the Amur GPP, Gazprom is building a new microdistrict in the north of Svobodny. The microdistrict includes 42 apartment buildings, 36 townhouses, a kindergarten, a school, a medical center, a culture and leisure center, and a large sports complex with an ice arena and a swimming pool.
The new microdistrict is still under construction, but Svobodny already has four residential buildings available for 249 families. This brand-new nine-storey building became home to the employees of Gazprom Pererabotka Blagoveshchensk a short while ago.
Oksana Pitirimova, a specialist of the social development division at Gazprom Pererabotka Blagoveshchensk, lives in this spacious apartment together with her 11-year-old son. She recently moved here from Yekaterinburg, enticed by career opportunities, a good salary, social benefits and, of course, romanticism. “Today, Svobodny and the entire Far East are filled with the spirit of novelty, change, and development,” Oksana says.
Thanks to the inflow of labor, new public facilities are coming into existence in Svobodny. Until recently, the town with more than 50,000 residents did not have a single swimming pool.
The construction of the town’s first municipal sports complex with a swimming pool turned into a long-delayed project. It was completed with the Company’s support under the Gazprom for Children program. The long-awaited opening of the Ocean Center took place in the spring of 2017. Today, guests from all over the town come there to take a swim or do sports in various sports clubs.
Investing in human capital is one of Gazprom’s basic principles. After all, technologies are created by people – skilled personnel with whom one can confidently enter the future. And it is vital to pave the way for this future today.
The industry’s skill pool is formed from, among others, the graduates of Gazprom Classes. These specialized classes for high-schoolers have been accepting students for several years, and there are now 26 of them across the country. Svobodny-based School No. 1 opened a Gazprom Class on Knowledge Day (September 1) in 2017. After a rigorous selection procedure, the best graduates of the ninth grade donned branded blue ties. The students take up advanced studies of chemistry and physics – the disciplines in which future gas workers must be well-versed. The boys and girls immerse themselves in the industry by meeting with GPP specialists and participating in industry academic competitions, educational sessions, and contests. In 2019, the first 13 graduates of the Gazprom Class in Svobodny entered the country’s leading universities under employer-sponsored contracts. Upon getting a degree, they are guaranteed employment at the Company’s facilities.
The students sitting at a desk in the center of this photo are Ruslan Makarov, future chemical engineer, and Anastasia Belousova, future chemical technologist. The two scholarship holders and repeat winners of academic competitions can already envision their future careers in detail: after graduating from the Gazprom Class they will enter university, subsequently join the GPP staff, and rise to top management positions. “Our class is a pool of ambitious and promising people with really strong competitive abilities,” Anastasia explains. “You will not find lazybones here. Everyone knows what he or she wants from life.”
That is probably why some students come to the Gazprom Class even from afar. Alexandra Guba lives in the town of Tsiolkovsky close to the Vostochny Cosmodrome, but she chose the gas industry over the space one. For this reason, she is willing to make an hour-long journey to school every morning.
In Svobodny, ninth-graders who aspire to become gas workers have two options: either to get qualified for the Gazprom Class or to study at Amur Technical College under field-specific programs.
The College also has all the necessary arrangements to train personnel for the industry. Gazprom Pererabotka Blagoveshchensk contributed to the full refurbishment of classrooms and laboratories of this educational institution that currently trains students in the disciplines required by the GPP. These boys and girls are future operators of process pumps and compressors, environmental laboratory technicians, and downstream operators.
All the equipment in this workshop – pumps, parts of pipelines, heat exchangers – is exactly like the equipment of a gas processing plant. Teachers continually set real tasks, which is why by the start of their practical training students know very well how every part of the machinery works.
Andrey Tyschenko, who is six months from graduation, has every chance of getting an honors diploma. The young man can already put a technical solution of his own on his résumé: he successfully defended a project to improve a flexible hose pump used for the transfer of various substances during process operations, and, as Andrey assures us, his design of the pump is more efficient.
In September 2019, the first 14 employer-sponsored students set to work at the Amur GPP as chemical analysts and process unit operators.
About 3,000 people will be employed at the plant when it is completed. The minds and hands of these professionals will shape the gas history of not only Russia’s Far East but also our entire country. These people are the key to success and truly the greatest resource of the Amur GPP.