The first billion tonnes of oil

On 28 June 1968, the Council of Ministers of the USSR issued a Resolution «On Measures to Improve the Development of Oilfields in the Tatar ASSR», which contained a detailed description of duties of ministries and departments and stated that Tatneft Trust had to solve the task of not just achieving the rate of 100 million tonnes, but of maintaining that rate until 1976. On 30 December 1970, the desired level of 100 million tonnes of oil was achieved, and a report was sent to Moscow about the outstanding labour victory of the collective of Tatneft. Soon after the oilmen of the republic found themselves under the «rain» of high awards: the Almetyevneft Oil-and-Gas-Producing Board was awarded the Order of Lenin and the Minnibayevsky Gas-Processing Plant was awarded the Order of the Red Banner of Labour.

At the late 1960s, Tatneft was the first in the oil industry of the USSR to develop a process scheme and perform the injection of large quantities of sulferic acid to the productive layers for purposes of increasing the rate of oil recovery. The results were impressive. While 1950 saw the extraction of 867,000 tonnes of oil, in 1960 extracted were almost 43 million tonnes. In 1975, the figure increased up to 104 million tonnes. Such rates were the highest in the history of oil production. At the same time, the drilling techniques were constantly being improved as well as the management scheme of the amalgamation. Constantly improved was also the structure of the Association’s management. In particular, liquidated were the oilfields and drilling enterprises that were substituted by RITSes (Regional Engineering and Technological Services) and bases for production servicing.

The new tasks set before the Tatneft Association required the solution of not complex technical and technological issues, but also of purely scientific problems connected to the geology of oil. To that end, in 1970, the Tatar research and Design Institute for Oil Industry – TatNIPIneft – (headed by G. Vakhitov) was created in 1970 by order of the Minister for oil and gas production industry of the USSR on the basis of TatNIIneft and Tatnefteproyekt research institutes. The joint efforts of scientists and geologists helped develop a new technique of additional exploration in the productive horizons of the developed oilfields, which made it possible to additionally discover considerable reserves of oil with minimum expenditures.

The opening of a giant oil pipeline Samotlor – Ust-Balyk – Kurgan – Ufa – Almetyevsk – Centre became an important event in life of the country, since it connected oilfields of Western Siberia to the European part of the USSR through Almetyevsk.
The employees of Tatneft Association fulfilled the five-year plan for oil production in 1975, ahead of schedule. All in all, in the ninth five-year plan period, oilmen of Tatarstan produced 513 million tonnes of the «black gold», i.e. approximately one third of all oil produced in the country.

The main result of the development of oilfields of Tatarstan at the end of the 1960s and the beginning of the 1970s was that the portion of oil in the fuel balance of the country grew up to 43 per cent. For comparison, in 1950 it was slightly above 17 per cent. Thus, the Soviet Union entered with confidence the club of the leading oil-producing countries of the world.

Those years were for the republic the time of the highest rates of oil production over the whole history of the Tatar oil, nearly 104 million tonnes per annum. Having consolidated the achievements of the first years, the oil industry entered the period of maturity. At that stage it faced the new challenges connected to the preservation of the rate of oil production and its optimization.