OREANDA-NEWS. Alexey Miller, Chairman of the Gazprom Management Committee, today held at Chelyabinsk Pipe Rolling Plant a new working meeting on innovations in the Russian pipe industry.

The meeting featured the Deputy Chairmen of the Company's Management Committee Vitaly Markelov and Andrey Kruglov, the Management Committee Members Oleg AksyutinVyacheslav Mikhalenko, and Vsevolod Cherepanov, as well as the top managers of the Pipe Producers Association, United Metallurgical Company (OMK), TMK, Chelyabinsk Pipe Rolling Plant (ChelPipe), Severstal, and other companies.

It was noted that Gazprom and pipe producers planned to implement 88 scientific and technological projects, most of them providing for innovative developments, under scientific and technical cooperation programs till 2020. As of today, 11 projects have been completed, including the production launch of H2S-resistant gas and oil pipes, pipes with enhanced deformation capacity for crossing active tectonic faults, and the pipe coating technology using domestically-produced single-layer insulation.

Currently, highly-deformable pipes of 1,420-millimeter diameter are undergoing cold bending tests with a bend angle of over 6 degrees. If successful, that technology will partly replace the expensive practice of hot tube bending, thereby cutting the costs for the construction and repair of gas trunklines.

In 2016–2017, it is planned to test the first prototypes of X100-grade steel large-diameter pipes, which require less metal than the Х80 pipes currently in use.

Gazprom continues to actively pursue cooperation in the field of import substitution. To that end, the Company entered into long-term contracts with TMK and OMK for the batch production, supply, and maintenance of import-substituting products in the amount equal to guaranteed future purchases. Gazprom will receive casing and pump & compressor pipes of cold- and corrosion-resistant design from TMK and special-purpose ball valves, including heavy-duty service ones, from OMK. The Company is currently evaluating the prospects for the production of import-substituting equipment by domestic pipe manufacturers for Gazprom's offshore projects.

The meeting addressed the possibilities of using a pricing formula for pipe fittings. The pricing formula was noted to have served as an efficient tool for pricing the pipes purchased by Gazprom thanks to the predictability of calculations.

Particular attention was paid to the joint efforts of Gazprom and pipe producers – OMK, TMK, ChelPipe, and Severstal – in the development of the NGV market. As provided by the memorandums signed in the autumn of 2015, the companies prepared road maps envisaging a set of measures to convert the motor vehicle fleets of the pipe producers to compressed or liquefied natural gas. It is planned to convert no less than 60 per cent of those fleets to NGV fuel by 2020. Gas filling units may be established on the premises of the aforementioned companies.

At the end of the meeting, instructions were given to further deepen the partnership between Gazprom and Russian pipe producers with regard to, inter alia, import substitution and NGV market development.

Alexey Miller and Alexey Mordashov, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Severstal, signed a road map for the production launch of A553/A553M-grade steel used during the construction of liquefied natural gas (LNG) production, transmission and storage facilities. The use of such steel will, among other things, almost halve the amount of metal required for manufacturing LNG storage tanks compared to similar types of steel in the same price range.

In the course of the event, Gazprom's delegation paid a visit to a workshop of ETERNO, a joint company of ChelPipe and RUSNANO focused on manufacturing stamped and welded pipe components.