The formation of the production association «Tatneft»

The discovery of the Romashkinskoye oilfield has for long made Tatarstan a region with the largest explored reserves of oil in the country. According to preliminary estimations, the total reserves were 2.3 billion tonnes and the recoverable reserves were 1.4 billion tonnes. At the same time, the prospect of discovering new oilfields and sharp increasing of oil production rates was quite real.

Already developing the post-war plan of the country’s development in the period between 1946 and 1950 it was decided to engage the discovered reserves of oil from Tatarstan in the national economy. Suffering from a great lack of oil and oil products, the Soviet government brought forward an ambitious plan to achieve the level of oil production of 60 million tonnes per year, while the actual production level was 21 million tonnes. The need for «storm» development of the Tatar oil was pressing, just like the organizational difficulties. Suffice it to say that exploration, drilling works, transportation of oil and technical maintenance were performed by almost hundred organizations. The organizational reform was aimed at the radical improvement of the situation.

On 25 January 1949, the Tatneft Trust was established by order of Nikolai Baibakov, the Minister for Oil Industry of the USSR. The Trust included the Shugur and Bavly enlarged oilfields, and the Romashkino oilfield was established. Also established was the construction-and-mounting division of the Trust. The head organisations of the Tatneft Trust were located in Bugulma. F. Yefremov was appointed its head, V. Yeronin was appointed its chief engineer, M. Maltsev was appointed chief geologist, Y. Yashchenko was appointed director of the Shugur oilfield, G. Yedigarov was appointed director of the Bavly oilfield, and G. Kostryukov was appointed director of the Romashkino oilfield. As of June 1949, Tatneft Trust employed 1347 persons.

It was in «Tatneft» where they started to widely use advanced scientific, technical, organizational and production innovations (large-scale introduction of downhole turbine motor drilling, artificial support of the reservoir pressure, industrial measures of construction of drilling rigs and oilfield facilities). The results were overwhelming. The drilling team of master P. Boiko from the Bavly Drilling Enterprise was the first to reach the rate of penetration of 1024 m. per drill a month, using the turbine motor drilling technique.

The Resolution of the Council of Ministers of the USSR issued in 1950 identified the main direction of the development of «Tatneft» for the next decade. Its main guidelines were to ensure the shortest possible terms of prospecting and putting into operation of new oilfields, the highest rates of oil production growth and the maximum speed in the implementation of the entire set of the construction programme.
In the period between 1950 and 1966 the Trust had been developing its managerial structure. Like all primary industries connected to the development of entrails, the oil industry had been created and developed based on the territorial/production principle. In 1950, two oil-and-gas-producing trusts, «Bavlyneft» and «Bugulmaneft», were established within «Tatneft» to manage the oil-and-gas-production and drilling works, as well as the drilling trust called «Tatburneft». Besides, «Tatneft» also incorporated the «Tatneftestroi» constructing-and-mounting trust and the «Tatnefteproyekt» design office. Of great significance was the creation of «Tatneftegeofizika» trust in 1952 (headed by M. Kadisov) with offices and auxiliary enterprises all over the region.

The geological profile of Tatarstan proved to be lucky for oil explorers. All in all, 102 oilfields were discovered in the period between 1940 and 1975. The introduction of the boundary waterflooding technology became a most important achievement of scientists, geologists, and production engineers. By 1955, owing to enormous efforts, Tatneft Association managed to ensure the level of oil production of 13.2 million tonnes.

Thus, virtually from the very beginning, the fields of Tatarstan were operated with the use of an advanced method of artificial maintenance of the formation pressure. At the same time, this method was not used mechanically, but with account for peculiar features of each particular field. For the first time it was used by oil-engineers of Tatneft in close collaboration with research institutes of Tatarstan and Moscow at the Romashkinskoye field. It was there, in the Trans-Kama region, where the world’s first successful boundary waterflooding was performed, enabling the people to materially increase the rate of oil production from productive horizons and save hundreds of millions of roubles.

The state-of-the-art technologies of drilling and oil extraction enabled Tatneft to fulfil, in 1965, the seven-year plan of oil production ahead of schedule. The oil production volume grew 2.7 times and made up 140,894,000 tonnes. The Association drilled over 9,000,000 m of rocks, built over 5,000 wells, discovered some 100 oil fields and deposits. Builders and mounters built nearly 10,000 km of oil- and gas pipelines, over 2,500 km of power lines. The labour productivity at the oilfields of the republic grew by 83 per cent as compared to the first year of the five-year plan, 1,5 times in drilling and 2,5 times in rig-building.

All that made it possible to consider the future of oil production in Tatarstan as promising. For master fulfillment of the seven-year plan of oil production and the success achieved in the field of further improvement of methods of oilfield development, Tatneft Production Association was awarded an Order of Lenin by Decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR dated 16 March 1966.

The most important achievement of the first fifteen years in the history of Tatneft was that it managed, under the most difficult conditions and in a very short period of time, to solve the task of the formation of all structures of the oil complex: starting from the overall exploration of entrails up to preliminary refining and transportation of oil to other regions of the country. The chronical shortage of oil products, energy resources and hydrocarbon raw was eliminated to a great degree owing to oil of Tatarstan. Besides, oil from Tatarstan came to Europe, thus having cleared the way to recognition of our achievements in the oil-producing industry.
In 1968, the collective of Tatneft received a complimentary address of the Government in connection with the 25th anniversary of the Association, which stated that the unprecedented labour enthusiasm showed in the Trans-Kama region helped «establish the largest oil base of the country». That was a high and deserved estimation.

At the same time, the leadership of the country set a new task for oilmen of Tataria – to raise the rate of oil production up to 100 million tonnes per annum. That new strategy was formulated and aired at the 23rd Congress of the CPSU. However, while the Union ministries kept on developing «audacious» plans to raise the rate of oil production in Tatarstan up to 120-130 million tonnes per annum, in the republic experts were getting more and more convinced that the unjustified high rates of oil production would ruin the industry. The race for records could lead to negative tendencies in the near future, down to the ecological catastrophe.

Under such conditions, the management of Tatneft took a decision to put forward an initiative: «To ensure the production of 100 million tonnes of oil by the 100th anniversary of Vladimir Lenin». The rate was high but it did not go beyond the limits. Achieving it was quite possible, even if with great efforts, but without pushing themselves into a deadlock and without pushing the industry to a disastrous road of irretrievable degradation of oilfields. The initiative was accepted, though with serious objections from the part of the Union ministry that insisted on higher rates. However, the decision was taken in favour of 100 million tones. Thus they saved the future of the Tatar oil and ensured the stable development for Tatneft Trust.