Alexey Kortunov


Dedicated to the 100th anniversary of Alexey Kortunov – the first Head of the Ministry for Oil and Gas Construction.

Alexey Kortunov was born on March 28, 1907 in Novocherkassk. He graduated from institute and completed a postgraduate course there. Shortly after, he was delegated to the building site of a blast furnace at the Azovstal Plant in Mariupol.

On the eve of the Great Patriotic War, Alexey Kortunov worked at Central Institute of Aerohydrodynamics, where he had a difficult career path from a mechanization engineer to one of the most responsible positions – Head of Aerodynamic Facilities Construction.

In the early days of the war Alexey Kortunov submitted a military service application and was assigned as an attendee to the Military Engineering Courses. In 1942 Alexey Kortunov was Engineering Service Head at 134th Rifle Division, later on – Commanding Officer of 629th Rifle Regiment of the Red Banner and Suvorov (3rd Class) Orders, as a part of which he reached Berlin.

For his outstanding military service Alexey Kortunov was entitled to the highest state award – the Hero of the Soviet Union. He was also honored with numerous state awards, including the Alexander Nevsky, and Suvorov (3rd Class) Orders.

In 1946 Alexey Kortunov was appointed Military Sector Head with the Soviet Military Administration Directorate in Thuringia. From 1948 until the last days of his life, he served for the oil and gas industry: he headed the Tuymazy Regional Construction Directorate, in 1950 he was appointed Oil Industry Deputy Minister for Construction, in 1953 he was transferred to the position of Head of the Main Directorate for Construction in Eastern Regions of the USSR (Glavvostokneftestroy). In December 1954 Alexey Kortunov became Head of Glavneftestroy and in 1955 – Minister for Oil Construction in the USSR.

Between 1957 and 1972 Alexey Kortunov took managerial positions in governing bodies of the national gas industry: Main Directorate of the Gas Industry under the USSR Council of Ministers, the USSR State Committee for the Gas Industry, the USSR Gas Industry Ministry.

In September 1972 the Government decided to establish the Ministry for Oil and Gas Construction. Alexey Kortunov was put in charge of it. He promptly selected the management team and created a well-defined structure of the new ministry. However, his poor heath prevented him from frequent visits to numerous construction sites.

During Alexey Kortunov’s tenure the gas industry attained great results

  • Under his leadership, major gas fields – Shebelinka, Stavropolskoye (Krasnodar Territory), Karadagskoye, Gazlinskoye, Shatlykskoye, Orenburgskoye, Messoyakhskoye, Ust-Vilyuiskoye, etc. – were discovered within a short period of time; first production facilities were put into operation at the Medvezhye field.
  • Field infrastructure was created and large gas trunklines, such as Shebelinka – Moscow, Stavropol – Moscow, Krasnodar Territory – Serpukhov – Leningrad, Dzharkak – Tashkent – Frunze – Alma-Ata, Karadag – Tbilisi – Yerevan, Bukhara – Ural, Central Asia – Center (4 strings), SRTO – Torzhok – Minsk, Ust-Vilyui – Yakutsk, etc. (almost 100 thousand kilometers of gas trunklines), were constructed at fast pace.
  • The USSR gas production increment amounted to 209 billion cubic meters.
  • Compressor stations with a capacity exceeding 15 million kW were commissioned.
  • Commercial gas reserves rose to 25 trillion cubic meters.
  • The share of gas in the domestic fuel balance reached 19.5 per cent.
  • The bulk of the national Unified Gas Supply System was formed.
  • A foundation was laid for the system of reliable, uninterrupted ‘blue fuel’ supplies to domestic and foreign consumers.
  • Underground gas storage facilities were built.
  • The USSR Glavgaz shaped a strong research and design base comprising 11 research and design institutes: VNIIGAZ, VNIIST, VNIIpodzemgaz, Giprotruboprovod, Giprospetsgaz, Ukrgiprogaz, Vostokgiprogaz, YuzhNIIgiprogaz, Gazstroymashina Specialized Design Bureau, Moscow and Kiev Experimental Mechanical Plants. New research institutions were established: UkrNIIgaz (Kharkov), SredazNIIgaz (Tashkent), SevkavNIIgaz (Stavropol), TyumenNIIgiprogaz (Tyumen), VNIIEGazprom and Gazpriboravtomatika Specialized Design Bureau (Moscow). The entire complex of industry, research and academic potential was engaged for ensuring efficient development of the gas industry. 
  • The gas industry entered the global energy market.
  • A program was developed for gas supplies to the regions outlying from domestic gas fields.
  • The rapid pipeline construction industry was created in the country.
  • All types of domestic equipment for automated construction of gas trunklines were designed in the times of Kortunov as well. Later on, groups of machines were created using these developments to construct gas trunklines with 1,420 millimeters in diameter.
  • The competence of industry workforce and management considerably improved. 

Alexey Kortunov passed away on November 17, 1973.