New technologies and innovative products introduction are the key competitive drivers in the global pipe market. TMK’s research centres, the Russian Research Institute for the Tube and Pipe Industries (RosNITI) located in Chelyabinsk (Russia) and TMK’s Houston-based R&D centre (US) are engaged in extensive research, liaising with specialised R&D organizations and universities and aligning scientific and technological cooperation with TMK’s major consumers. The two centres assist TMK’s enterprises in developing new facilities, technologies and products.
We consistently build up our R&D activities. For example, in July 2015, we launched the construction of TMK’s R&D facility in Skolkovo that will become our third, and principal, research and development platform. TMK’s R&D facility is scheduled to come online in 2017.
We actively pursue R&D collaboration projects with most Russian oil & gas majors to find a mutually beneficial solution to meet the demand of our customers for tubular products.
In December 2014, we entered into an R&D cooperation agreement with Gazprom for the period of 2015–2020. The agreement outlines a cooperation programme focusing on the development of new tubular products, import substitution initiatives, best practices sharing and joint research.
25 new pipe productsfor Gazprom will be developed and launched by 2020
We are planning to develop and launch 25 products, including ten new and fifteen import substituting products, such as pipes with improved strain capacity for deep water pipelines; casing, tubing and drilling pipes for wells in adverse conditions and offshore projects, as well as pipes with dope-free threaded connections and featuring new allows and materials. We have been successfully building up R&D cooperation with Gazprom since 2003. These efforts helped launch dozens of new products, including vacuum insulated tubing, 13Cr-grade pipe, high-strength pipe used in aggressive environments, etc.
For many years, we have been cooperating with Gazprom Neft and supplying pipe for oil production and transportation, including those with premium threaded connections. Our R&D cooperation programme has been effective since 2013. While working on this programme, we decided to expand the scope of our cooperation with Gazprom Neft to set up a technological partnership. The Technological Partnership Programme signed between TMK and Gazprom Neft spans 2015–2017. The programme mainly focuses on developing and supplying new and import substituting products, providing services, supporting conceptual engineering for well construction equipment and technologies and looking into an opportunity to create a single R&D platform for the development of new complicated oil fields.
In 2015, we continued our relationship with Lukoil under the R&D Cooperation Programme for 2014–2016 signed in 2014. The Programme provides for launching import-substituting and new types of high-performance tubular products. In the reporting year, TMK’s entities completed a range of activities under the Programme:
In 2015, we launched a range of R&D cooperation programmes with Rosneft.
In July 2015, TMK signed a partnership agreement for joint research on development, manufacturing and introduction of knowledge-intensive lubricants needed by TMK. In addition, we are planning to run a joint technical audit of equipment to take full advantage of lubricants and the new mix of oil products.