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Integra brochure
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September 09, 2009

Arthur Tissen: “Integra is an integrated international company”

www.uralpolit.ru expert news channel

Integra is a leading Russian provider of onshore oilfield services. Our company is engaged in drilling, workover of wells, oil and gas machinery manufacturing, and technology services provision. Geophysical surveys constitute one of the most successful lines of its business. Integra Group has three vehicles that specialize in seismic investigations. Any seismic investigations performed in Russia and elsewhere remain under the ongoing control of our Integra-Geophysics constituent company based in Tyumen. Seismic investigations undertaken in Kazakhstan and in other CIS states are performed by Integra’s Azimuth Energy Services company based in Almaty. Moscow-based GeoPrime is responsible for the processing and interpreting of seismic data. Arthur Tissen, Director of Marketing, Integra-Geophysics, informed the reporter of Uralpolit.ru about the range of assignments performed by Integra’s geophysicists.

Mr. Tissen, you may be aware of the opinion that the Russian school of geological studies is weaker than the one of the Soviet period: the workload has plummeted, as well as the number of professionals capable of doing the job. Therefore, only the oilfields discovered back in the days of the USSR are developed, although no new large ones are discovered in Russia. Is it true, and if so, to what extent it is true?

In fact, there is a minor deficit of geophysicists within the age group of 30 to 40 years old. In the days of the crisis, our Soviet-school geologists made the backbone of this industry. However, our Russian geological school has not weakened. Rather, there has been a substantial inflow of young specialists under 30. They join our company after they have earned their degrees from the universities of Moscow, Novosibirsk and Tyumen. They are our new mentality professionals. Let’s take a look at Georgy Volkov, Managing Director of Integra-Geophysics. He is 32, and he is a graduate of the University of Novosibirsk.

Presently, new oilfields are most often discovered by oil and gas companies. Discoveries are made on the basis of our geophysical data that we provided in the capacity of contractors. The system of geophysical investigations operates in exactly the same manner as it did back in the days of the USSR. Our customers obtain very good results and make successful discoveries. For example, in early 1990s, the fields in Uvat county [in Tyumen Region] were assessed pessimistically. Sporadic fields with small reserves were known there. Today, Uvat county is developing into a most significant oil-producing area of Russia. A major portion of seismic prospecting was performed there by our company with up to 80% discoveries based on our seismic data. However, the honour of these discoveries is attributed to our customer, TNK-BP. 

A lot is now said about exploitation of offshore gas deposits. How intensive is their exploration offshore the Yamal peninsula?

Russia has three companies that specialise in offshore seismic prospecting. Deep-sea operations at the depth of over 10-15 metres require sea vehicles. We are engaged in performance of a number of orders in the Yamal peninsula where we supplement the operations of the firms engaged in offshore prospecting. An onshore deposit outstretching offshore is a common case. For instance, such is the structure of Kruzenshternovskoye deposit. We do our job on the land, and we avoid competing with those companies that operate offshore. In the aftermath, a customer can consolidate the data to obtain a complete picture.
How do you structure your relations with your customers? How much time does it take for geophysicists to complete their surveys in respect of a particular deposit?

Being a services provider, we can service any deposit during the term of its development. At the first stage, when an oil and gas company obtains a license required to operate a particular deposit, we perform exploration seismography. Appraisal wells are drilled on the basis of our investigations to confirm the productivity of deposits. At the second stage, particular assignments may be performed to identify the characteristics of different sections of deposits. As an outcome, an optimal deposit development model is produced. Later, our customer may also need to address our geophysicists in the course of commercial operations.  For example, consequences of hydraulic fracturing require investigation to optimise further deposit development. 

Any assignment completed by our company contains drilling recommendations. As a rule, terms of our contracts that cover major deposits reach two to three years. For example, we worked at Bovanenkovskoye deposit for about three years; we performed seismic prospecting to specify the structure of this deposit discovered back in the Soviet days. We often resume our investigations of a specific deposit. Whenever our customer is in need of any supplementary geological data required for a strategic or an executive decision concerning a specific deposit, they address Integra’s geophysicists.

Who are your customers?

Our customers include Gazprom Neft, Rosneft, TNK-BP, Surgutneftegas, LUKoil, and, surely, multiple subsidiaries of Gazprom. 

What about your cooperation with foreign customers? Does any Russian intellectual product get exported when you provide geophysical services abroad?

First of all, our foreign customers address us from Asia. We have completed several contracts and received letters of appreciation from Mauritania, India, and Azerbaijan. Middle Asia, Iraq, Yemen, Saudi Arabia are within the scope of our marketing efforts. 

Price rates and operational efficiency matter the most in foreign markets. Our geophysical facilities come from the best producers of the USA and France. Any marketing researches are integrated between Integra-Geophysics, Azimuth Energy Services and GeoPrime thanks to our consolidated management team based in Moscow.

We often employ local infrastructures when we perform our contracts abroad. Our specialists travel abroad. All other supportive assignments are performed by local contractors. We are an integrated international company. In this sense, we do export the Russian intellectual product.

In fact, our company’s policy is to employ whatever is available on site. We also employ local organisations and local workforce in the local markets of Russia. For instance, we have registered our branch in Tomsk Region, and this branch pays taxes in the region of its operations.

Nonetheless, it is noteworthy that current laws restrain our initiative as well as our potential expansion into the world market. I am strongly convinced that changes are coming. We have an opportunity to boost our intellectual services exports.