Sergey Latertsev: Our operator is one of the best!

Published in the Puls Yamburga (Yamburg Pulse), corporate newspaper of Gazprom, October 2012

“Never before have I paid much attention to numerology or the influence of numbers on the world around,” Sergey Latertsev, GF-1 process gas compressor operator at a gas production directorate tells us. “But after a series of recent events I understood that my lucky number was three.”

Without considerable efforts

It all started in May, when Sergey decided to take part in the Gazprom Dobycha Yamburg traditional contest for the title of the Best Process Gas Compressor Operator. Since he had what they call a sound experience (about thirteen years) in this profession, task completion caused him no trouble. As a result, he was awarded a bronze medal for the third place.

Soon after the contest, Sergey flew away for his rotational leave, and when he came back he was pleasantly surprised to find out that the company’s management had decided to send him to another sectoral contest – this time on the Gazprom level.

“According to the conditions of professional contests, the operators had to perform one of the practical tasks at gas compressor units GTK-10-4 with a dry gas seal,” says Sergey Semchenko, Deputy Head of the Gas production directorate BCS process facilities. “Since we don’t use such units at our company, we sent Sergey Latertsev to career development courses’ to our neighbors who use the units of this very kind at Novy Urengoy Line Pipe Operation Center of Gazprom Transgaz Surgut. As for the theoretical studies, he took them here, ‘on the spot’.

For the first time in history

After thorough preparations, Sergey Latertsev accompanied by his tutor Sergey Semchenko went to scale new professional heights on the level of the parent gas production Company.

The contest for the title of the Best Operator of Gazprom took place in the middle of September on the Gazprom Transgaz Samara premises.

Representatives from 22 subsidiaries of Gazprom, dealing with ‘blue fuel’ extraction, underground storage, processing and transmission, participated in the event that took place for the first time in the history of the Russian gas industry development. As determined by draw, Sergey Latertsev had number three again.

“And so I thought it was a good sign – I would be lucky,” he remembers with a smile.

Two plus one

Following the contest schedule, the contestants were to fulfill two practical and one theoretical task.

They started with demonstrating their skills and abilities. The operators were offered to temporarily suspend operation of a gas unit for its repair within an hour at the processing pad of a workshop at Gazprom Transgaz Samara.

The first thing Sergey felt getting down to his task was notorious excitement, as he had no experience in working with GTK-10-4. Moreover, his actions were closely watched by two members of the commission.

“That’s why I felt somewhat uneasy at first,” Sergey. Latertsev says. “But then I got involved in the process, paid attention to nobody and accomplished standard procedures included into the range of process gas compressor operator’s tasks.

Neither did the representative of our company have any difficulties with performing the second part of the professional task. He completed the replacement of a gas over oil actuator ball valve with the help of an emergency pump within twenty minutes.

“According to the contest rules, the commission, consisting of the representatives from Gazprom, Gazprom Gazobezopasnost and Gazprom Transgaz Samara, didn’t announce any results or comment on the operators’ mistakes,” Sergey Semchenko, Deputy Head of Gas Production Directorate BCS Process Facilities says. “The intrigue with the contest results was to be preserved until the end of the contest. That’s why both the contestants and their attendants were kept in the dark, so that one couldn’t forecast anyone’s victory.”

Blast from the past

The process gas compressor operators’ testing for the knowledge of gas trunkline maintenance rules was held in a computer classroom. Within an hour the contestants had to answer fifty questions offered to them by the commission.

“I stayed within the time limit and even managed to solve the problem on booster performance calculation, but there were several questions I couldn’t answer,” Sergey Latertsev says disappointedly. “Almost all practical tasks were focused on gas transmission, not production. The only thing that helped me was that I had worked at Tyumentransgaz for a while – so to say, old knowledge did me good.”

In waiting

It took the competent jury more than two and a half hours to sum up the results and determine the best process gas compressor operator on the Gazprom level. During this time, the contestants and their attendants waiting outside the forbidden room were worrying like schoolchildren.

“It resembled the anticipation of the moment of examination results announcement – on the one hand, we all seemed to be calm, but on the other hand, there was a hint of anxiety in our hearts,” Sergey Semchenko explains.

Third again

And so, the commission started announcing the list of winners. First, they named the three bronze winners, then the two silver ones and, finally, the gold one.

“The results were announced by the increase in scores,” Sergey Semchenko continues. “Our Sergey Latertsev was the third one to be announced. This means that among all third-prize winners he scored highest. I’ll be honest: I was really pleased that the Gazprom Dobycha Yamburg employee didn’t sell the company short and, moreover, showed the best third result. In a word, we achieved what we wanted by entering the top-six list.”

But that’s not all. The victory of our company’s employee becomes two times more valuable when realizing the fact that Sergey Latertsev, entering the top-list, was the only winner representing a gas production company.

“To justify confidence is a heavy responsibility,” says the bronze medalist of Gazprom’s professional contest among gas compressor operators. “I think I fulfilled this task more than successfully, once again proving that not only is Gazprom Dobycha Yamburg a leader in the production plan execution, but in its employees training as well. We are the best!”