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  • February 6, 2014

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    Gazprom has been actively implementing its Olympic investment program in Sochi over the recent seven years. We call this project Gazprom 2014. During this period we have repeatedly published photo essays from the Olympic venues construction sites. Now it’s time to strike a balance!

    You already know that Gazprom has fully completed its Olympic investment program. Starting from 2007, we have built diverse facilities: the Adler Thermal Power Plant (TPP), the Dzhubga – Lazarevskoye – Sochi gas pipeline, the Biathlon and Ski Complex on the Psekhako Ridge, the Mountain Olympic Village for biathletes and skiers, the Mountain Tourist Center (MTC), and in addition – the Galaktika community center, new facilities at the Alpika Service Mountain Ski Resort and many others.

    The most important of them, that will play a key role in the forthcoming ambitious sports festival of 2014, have already been tested in action. Today we will visit Gazprom’s Olympic venues one more time to see the results that our Olympic team of builders demonstrated in this large-scale project Gazprom 2014.



    Thousands of athletes and fans from all over the world have already arrived in Sochi to take part in the Winter Olympics and Paralympics. They will have their own way of exploring this Russian resort. But the very first encounter with Sochi starts even before the arrival: one can see from the plane window that Sochi has got two temperature zones –a warmer one on the coast and a colder one in the mountains.

    Let’s start our tour from the city center. The winter views of this southern city can easily be taken for the summer ones…

    …however, practically at every turn we will be reminded: Winter Olympics start here in just a few days.

    The sea port is one of the most popular sites among both native citizens and guests. The Olympic Clock shows the very last days before the competition starts.

    Fishers can be observed in the Sochi sea port all year round. For them the Black Sea means not just lying on the beach, but also their preferred mode of relaxation – going fishing.

    For Sochi’s gas workers the Black Sea is also a location of the first Olympic venue of Gazprom. The Dzhubga – Lazarevskoye – Sochi gas pipeline with the annual capacity of about 3.8 billion cubic meters is located nearly 4 kilometers off the coast. Its overall length is 171.6 kilometers, and 90 per cent of the route runs on the sea bottom.

    The special design of the pipeline rules out any negative impacts on the Sochi unique coastal environment – practically the entire coastline is a part of the Sochi National Park. This archive photo shows the Dzhubga – Lazarevskoye – Sochi gas pipeline construction.

    The Dzhubga – Lazarevskoye – Sochi gas pipeline was put onstream in 2011. In January 2014 additional capacities were commissioned at the Krasnodarskaya compressor station (CS) allowing for the maximum utilization of the pipeline capacity. You can see the Krasnodarskaya CS on this archive photo.

    The Dzhubga – Lazarevskoye – Sochi pipeline delivers gas to another facility of the Gazprom 2014 investment program – the Adler automated gas distribution station (AGDS).

    The key objective of the AGDS is to reduce pressure in the pipeline before sending gas to consumers (gas is conveyed via gas trunklines at 55–120 atmospheres). This process takes place in the gas pressure reduction unit (see photo).

    This is the outlet pipe of the Adler AGDS – it brings gas to the major regional consumer – the Adler TPP.

    Most of Gazprom’s facilities in the Sochi coastal area are surrounded with green plants…

    …because it’s warm enough for many plants to feel good even during the winter season. As for heating and lighting the Olympic venues, the already mentioned Adler thermal power plant (TPP) is responsible for it. This is another Olympic venue built by Gazprom.

    The Adler TPP is a modern 360 MW cogeneration plant (its thermal output is 227 Gcal per hour). It is fuelled with natural gas – an environmentally friendly fuel. We will get back to environmental issues of the power plant a little later.

    The TPP is located close to the Olympic venues built in the coastal cluster – ice stadiums and palaces. This photo shows the Adler TPP office building.

    This is how the Olympic Park looked from the Adler TPP roof a year and a half ago. This time we went up again to compare it with today’s panorama.

    The difference can be seen immediately. New hotels, highways and parking lots were built.

    One of the most interesting buildings – the Bolshoy Ice Dome – can be easily observed.

    If you take a closer look, you can see life in full swing at the new venues. As for us – we get back to the ground to visit the inner premises of the power plant.

    The main building is the heart of the Adler TPP. Two standalone combined cycle power units PGU-180 are located here, and each of them comprises two gas turbines. The essential feature of the combined cycle technology is that not only fuel (gas) combustion energy is used for running the turbines, but also the energy of the generated steam. This allows for a significant improvement of the power plant performance – up to 52 per cent (power plant performance index normally hovers around 40 per cent).

    The TPP control room is in the capable hands of operators with an extremely high level of professionalism. Their key task is to thoroughly monitor TPP operations and make timely adjustments when necessary. The operators confess “attention is the key factor in our work, because practically all the processes at the TPP are automated”. That is why the shift comprises only 65 persons – enough to control such a big facility.

    Andrey Bushmakin (right) is the chief shift manager. “I was invited to work at the Adler TPP from the Krasnoyarsk Territory”, he says. “It didn’t take me long to make a decision: I agreed immediately, because commissioning and start-up operations at a greenfield power plant constitute invaluable experience, and not every expert has a chance to get it”.

    People whom we interviewed tell us: the fact that the Adler TPP will supply heat and power to the Olympic venues did not change their attitude to work. According to them, any facility of this kind is equally important. However, they emphasize that when watching the competitions, they will be additionally proud of themselves and their colleagues, because they know that they are closely related to this sports festival! The photo shows Andrey Safonov, shift manager of the boiler-and-turbine shop at the Adler TPP.

    Now we are in the premises of a very important unit. The combined power generation cycle used at the plant requires the water to be almost absolutely pure, i.e. free from any contaminants. The photos portray lab experts controlling the process water – Galina Tolochko…

    …and Elena Mazmanidi. Elena tells us she is excited about watching the Olympics not just on TV, but also directly at the stadiums: “All the venues are close by; I will try to see the maximum!”

    This is the water treatment unit. Because of a very high quality, this process is called ‘ultra filtration’. The equipment is capable of catching particles up to 0.03 µm – smaller than the visible wavelength (from 0.38 µm) and 250 times smaller than human red blood cells.

    Let’s walk along the Adler TPP territory to the dry cooling towers. They are designed for cooling. Surely you have seen huge pipes installed at cogeneration plants with great amounts of exhausted steam going out into the atmosphere. Well, these cooling towers replaced such pipes at the Adler TPP. As we can see, there is no steam; that is why they are called dry cooling towers.

    This is a huge fan in the dry cooling tower. The cooled water circulates within the closed loop here. Such a system does not increase air humidity or affect the environment. The Adler TPP is one of the ‘greenest’ in Russia, because natural gas, the most environmentally friendly fuel, is used here along with state-of-the-art technologies. The power plant won the ecological competition among Olympic venues in the Most Sustainable Water Utilization Facility nomination.

    Now it’s time to say goodbye to the Adler TPP and to continue our tour. We are now heading to the mountainous part of Sochi – the Krasnaya Polyana settlement.

    The landscape changes on the way to the mountain settlement: the higher we get – the more snow we can see!

    In order to visit Gazprom’s facilities in the mountains, we need to take the cableway. It covers one kilometer in just 12 minutes. It has to be noted that in addition to the already existing cableways, Gazprom built several new ones with the total length of 17.5 kilometers.

    While we are moving up, the fog gets thicker over the Psekhako hillsides.

    The fog is a very frequent guest here, but a very unstable one – it may take just several minutes for it to come and go.

    And indeed – it turned out to be clear on the top. We are now in the premises of Gazprom’s Mountain Tourist Center.

    Mountain Shelter No.1 – restaurants, cafes and service centers for the resort visitors are located here.

    All guests of Gazprom who fancy mountain skiing and snowboarding start their way to the tracks from here. However, this year the tracks are closed due to the Olympics.

    However, there is always a lot of work to do at the resort. For example, all the sites, alleys and tracks need to be properly maintained.

    Here we get into a shuttle van which will bring us to the biathlon stadium in just five minutes along the newly built access road.

    Now it is accessible almost for any car, while just 2 years ago you had to use either an off-road vehicle or a lorry.

    Snow is being removed from the stadium now, as heavy snow fell last night. Workers are kept busy doing the day-to-day job – such snowfalls are quite frequent here. You can see spectator stands in the photo, where biathlon fans will be watching their favorite sport.

    This is how the same stands look like during a competition. In our press release we wrote about one of the World Cup series held last winter (archive photo).

    Let’s enter this big 6-floor building. This biathlon complex is built up to international standards and comprises everything that athletes might need for their competitions and training sessions. This is a multi-purpose center – its premises and sites may be easily transformed for hosting forums, conferences, concerts and other events.

    In the corridor we are greeting the first person in a bright uniform – the institutors of the Games are already here, they are finishing the preparations for receiving athletes, coaches, broadcasters, and other technical and sports experts.

    The work is humming in the institutors’ offices.

    Of course we need to peep into the conference hall designed to host over 300 reporters at a time. Athletes will be first interviewed here right after the race: both winners and runners-up will be giving their first comments.

    These experts are testing the equipment for simultaneous translation, arranging the stands for press photographers and camera men. Here we meet Alexandra Ochkurova, supervisor of the stadium.

    We carry on talking with Alexandra in her office. “At every moment of time I am aware of what is going on at the stadium”, says she. “We used to receive many guests at our Biathlon and Ski Complex – both ordinary people and VIPs, but I never made any difference in treating them, all of them are equally valuable for me, and I will definitely take good care of every one”.

    This is the press center. It is from here that reporters representing all sorts of media companies will be broadcasting the latest news about biathlon and ski races. The center is equipped with broadband internet as well as digital screens for ‘live’ TV broadcasting.

    Together with the stadium Director Mikhail Mokerov we go up to a commentator booth. “I have been in sports for almost 20 years now, and I know personally almost all athletes, coaches and experts,” he says. “It is a great responsibility to host a competition engaging lots of people and companies. As for me, the key thing is to pull the right strings to get the outcome you want, so that everything goes smoothly.”

    The shooting range is clearly visible from all commentator booths. Spectators on the stands will have the similar visual angle. As for us, we will use one of these snowmobiles to continue our way.

    Let us take a look back at the biathlon stadium on the Psekhako Ridge…

    …and we are on our way to the ski stadium. We are looking at the tracks as we go…

    …and meet a skier who is testing them.

    This is the ski stadium area. The stadium building is a temporary structure and will be used during the competitions only.

    The stands of the ski stadium provide excellent visibility. It’s hard to imagine, but a high hill used to be here. So builders had to level out the ground first – remove the soil and secure the sidewalls – and snow experts came into action later on.

    Ratracks are essential for finishing snow slopes. They are used for profiling ski tracks as well as for laying, compacting and leveling the snow. Ratracks are also used at mountain ski resorts for carrying people and rescue services.

    Therefore, it’s not just a driver behind the wheel, but an ‘operator of a snow-condensing machine’ – that’s the way he’s called officially. Let’s meet Alexey Makhonin. He is at work from 8 am till 8 pm. As soon as the Olympics start, he will be on duty before dawn not to hinder biathletes and skiers from training. “Different technologies with different types of snow are used to arrange mountain ski tracks for amateurs and those for biathlon and ski races”, says Alexey. “Only artificial snow is used for competitions, because it promotes ideal sliding.”

    We move to another venue built by Gazprom – this is the Mountain Olympic Village capable of hosting up to 1,100 biathletes and skiers. It will turn into a hotel for visitors of Gazprom’s Mountain Tourist Center after the 2014 season.

    The Village comprises several types of buildings – both spacious houses…

    and small cottages that shape a small settlement.

    We are welcomed by Natalia Alexeeva (right), Chief Supervisor, i.e. the person responsible for cleanness, order and comfort. She is going to show us over the premises. On our way we ask her: how it feels to deal with sports stars? “It is always interesting, because they are never depressed. Unlike other guests, they display inner discipline and special personalities of sportsmen,” Natalia says.

    The rooms in the Mountain Olympic Village are in line with 4-star hotel standards.

    “So what have we got here? Quite a lot – different types of rooms, recreation facilities for athletes, cafes, a medical station, a swimming pool inside the hotel, actually we’ve got all we need,” Natalia summarizes.

    Before we say goodbye, we cast a look at the artificial, sometimes called man-made, lake: it was created to ensure water supply to the artificial snow generators. The lake holds over 100,000 cubic meters of water.

    Now we go down again to the Psekhako Ridge foot where Gazprom constructed some more large facilities. We enjoy the mountain view from a cableway car.

    This is the Galaktika community center. It was designed based on the outer space style.

    These are the exhibits of children’s ‘edutainment’ site.

    The conference hall may be easily transformed to fit all types of events: fashion shows, forums, roundtable discussions, concerts, etc.

    The ice rink is what the center is proud of. It’s capable of hosting competitions in ice hockey, curling, as well as skating shows and concerts. It recently welcomed the space show of Jean Michel Jarre and Russian figure skaters.

    Ice marking is in progress.

    Sergey Ananiev, Deputy Head of the Refrigerator Design Department says: “While selecting the equipment we took into account the torrid climate of Sochi, so our units are designed for 35 degrees Celsius ambient temperature. We created a special system for air drying and conditioning, which allows using the ice rink all year round”.

    Alpika Service, another resort recently reconstructed by Gazprom is waiting for us.

    Actually, the skiing history of the Krasnaya Polyana settlement started exactly from Alpika Service. Now it is under a large-scale reconstruction to turn into another state-of-the-art center for outdoor recreation fans. Some of its facilities have already been commissioned. It provides for lots of amenities as well: cafes, restaurants, recreational areas.

    We are on our way to the special facility built by Gazprom. It is the lower station of the 3S cableway.

    The cableway exceeding 5 kilometers in length is one of the world’s longest. Moreover, it rests on 6 pillars only (5 main ones and 1 station-based one).

    The cableway brings us back to the Psekhako Ridge. Here, on the top, we are going to finish our tour over the Gazprom Olympic venues. We showed you the main, but not all the facilities built by Gazprom for the Olympics. Mountain ski tracks, the already famous hotels (4-star Peak Hotel and 5-star Grand Hotel Polyana), the Alpika Service infrastructure and many other things were ‘behind the scenes’ for us. Soon we and all Russian citizens will be rooting for our national team, particularly for biathletes and skiers. We sincerely wish them to conquer all the ‘Olympic heights’ available here!

    P. S. Special thanks to Svod International and Rosengineering for their assistance in preparing this photo essay.

    Elena Plyusnina, Alexander Vainer (Gazprom Sotsinvest), Gazprom website Editorial Board
    You can find large size images in Photos.