Research and Development

In Russia, TMK’s research center is RosNITI — the largest Russian research institute in the area of pipe-manufacturing technology. RosNITI is responsible for the overall coordination of research and development activity at TMK, as well as R&D at the company’s Russian manufacturing facilities.

In the U.S., research activities are concentrated at the R&D Center in Houston, which is installing two connection testers and plans to obtain accreditation for the right to certify premium connections.

Introduction of research developments into production in 2011

In 2011, TMK was the first in Russia to master the production of vacuum insulated tubing (VLT) at the Sinarsky Pipe Plant, and in early 2012, it had already sent the first shipment of VIT to Gazprom for use at the Bovanenkovskoye gas condensate field on the Yamal Peninsula. The thermal characteristics of TMK’s VIT, confirmed by experts at Gazprom VNIIGAZ, allowed the assembly and all procedures preceding the run to be conducted in a timely manner. The VIT construction is designed as a “tube inside a tube” whereby a pipe of a smaller diameter is placed in one of a larger diameter. The space between the pipes contains a multi-layered insulation screen and creates a high vacuum to reduce heat loss. This pipe is intended for fields located in the most difficult conditions of oil and gas production — i.e., in the permafrost zone — and helps prevent thawing of the soil around the well.

In January 2011, TMK sent a shipment of seamless pipe to Gazprom for construction of the Portovaya compressor station — unique in its technical and operating characteristics — which will be a starting point for the Nord Stream gas pipeline.

The TMK pipe, manufactured at the Sinarsky and Volzhsky plants, is designed to assemble a manifold pipeline that connects separate units of the Portovaya compressor station, including gas compressor units, a gas treatment facility, etc. Pipe production was carried out at TMK facilities and resulted in the strength properties required by Gazprom’s special technical specifications. TMK production facilities proved their readiness to produce specialized products for such a complex and high-tech facility.

At the Volzhsky and Sinarsky plants a new high-tech product was manufactured — casing and tubing made of 13Cr steel and threaded with TMK FMT and TMK GF premium connections. Experimental work related to the selection of materials and steel heat treatment regime for cold resistance down to -60° C was carried out. In May 2011, TMK sent a shipment of tubing made of 13Cr steel to Tomskneft for use in the Chkalovskoye field. TMK became the first Russian pipe manufacturer to produce pipe from this type of steel for use in the extraction of hydrocarbons.

In December 2011, TMK produced a trial batch of casing with lubricant-free coating at TAGMET. The new coating was developed in conjunction with scientists from St. Petersburg. It ensures the gas tightness of connections on a casing string. In addition, lubricant-free coating significantly reduces the time to prepare the pipe for its run into the well by removing the process of washing the threads that was previously required before connection-sealing lubricant was applied. These casing pipes successfully passed a series of tests in an actual oil rig, regaining full gas tightness.

In 2011, TMK-ARTROM, part of TMK’s European division, produced and shipped a new product — a heavywalled drill pipe (level 1340). Before orders for this type were placed, the first consumer — a North American company — conducted an audit at both of TMK’s Romanian plants — TMK-ARTROM and TMK-RESITA — which ended with a positive conclusion. In 2011, a shipment of 1,720 tonnes heavy-walled drill pipes was sent to this company.

TMK-INOX

TMK-INOX is a joint venture between TMK and RUSNANO1 with shares of 51% and 49% respectively. It provides management, organization and logistics services related to the production of precision pipe manufactured from stainless steels and alloys.

During 2011, TMK-INOX mastered the production of stainless steel seamless pipe measuring up to 30 meters in length. It also began to introduce technology to manufacture long welded pipe made of stainless steel.

The main customers of stainless steel seamless pipe manufactured by TMK are power engineering plants, chemical and petroleum engineering plants, nuclear industry enterprises, as well as enterprises, aviation and defense engineering, the chemical and petrochemical industry and metallurgy.

1 RUSNANO was established in March 2011 as an open joint-stock company through reorganization of state corporation Russian Corporation of Nanotechnologies. RUSNANO’s mission is to develop the Russian nanotechnology industry through co-investment in nanotechnology projects with substantial economic potential or social benefit. The Government of the Russian Federation owns 100 percent of the shares in RUSNANO.

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