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Integra brochure
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December 21, 2010

Georgy Volkov: We have combined Western technologies and experience of Russian experts.

UralPolit.Ru Expert Channel

In little more than 2 years after the Russian OJSC Integra-Geophysics Company was established,  it became the world company in seismic survey market. It includes large domestic geophysics companies such as “Tyumenneftegeophysika”, “Yamalgeophysika” and “Tomsk Geophysical Trust”. This summer Integra and WesternGeco (Schlumberger  division, which is known as the world leader in the industry), have established an exclusive joint venture, where Integra holds a 75% share and WesternGeco’s share is 25%. Integra-Geophysics Chief Executive, Georgy Volkov told the RIA Federal Press reporter about what goes on in the company right now and how it develops itself.

Integra-Geophysics Company is still too young even in view of the present days; however, it is one of the most known Russian companies in the market. What is the secret of such success?

“There is no special secret, but there are principles we strictly follow. Firstly, we observe all requirements for industrial safety. Secondly, we try to fulfill all obligations to our clients. Thirdly, we guarantee high quality of works. I would also note strong and old traditions within the teams, united by Integra-Geophysics, high professional qualities and experience of our employees.
Clients pay attention to such things in the first place. We cooperate with such companies as Gazpromneft, TNK-BP, Rosneft, Gazprom, Salym Petroleum Development, Rosnedra, LUKoil, Korean KNOC and some others.

What do you mean by old  traditions within the groups?

I believe, tradition is what we carefully maintain and what is passed from generation to generation. For example, we arrange meetings of people working in crews before the season’s beginning and after its end. We discuss perspectives of our work, achieved results, safety issues, new experience and we also learn lessons from the past field season.
Definitely, an intergenerational continuity plays an important role in providing stability and development for the company. Special team atmosphere and sense of pride for the company helps to grow labor dynasty in many families of our employees: children follow their parents when choosing profession. Company considers this fact as an important element of its historical course.
Wó have an important corporative tradition to celebrate the Victory Day together with veterans, which is maintained for several decades. Every year, on the eve of May 9, we meet with veterans of the WWII and labor veterans, our former workers, to share success achieved during the year and to discuss the current problems. We always visit the Eternal light to lay wreath on it and have holiday dinner. It’s not very modest to say this, but still we honor our veterans presenting them with gifts, providing material support, as it’s also a part of an old tradition.
Speaking about professional traditions, we can mention Oil Workers Day, Geologist's day and annual meeting of working groups. At such meetings, that are usually held on board a steamboat, we make review of the past year, present best workers and seismic survey crews with diplomas and present  the best regional unit with Challenge Cup.
We are trying to grow talented youth. Our company is one of the sponsors of the geology academic competition for pupils in Tomsk. In Kolpashevo city of Tomsk region we have helped  one local technical school, which trains drivers of cross-country vehicles and gave them a cross-country vehicle and field-engine, which is used by the school as visual aids and in  practical training.

Does it mean that you work with future employees?

Yes, it does, it’s impossible to do otherwise. The average age of our employees is 35-40. Many graduates of specialized educational organizations know us very well. We hold presentations of our company in specialized educational organizations such as higher education institutions, technical colleges and trade schools. And students are aware what they can do in our company.
Since last year we started Young Professional program, by means of which we put efforts to improve living and work conditions of our workers. In some regions we provide apartments and rooms in dormitories. We implement rotation of professionals in fields, pay travel expenses so that they would go to their living place. As a result, an employee works in field less than three months and has an opportunity to meet his family more often.

Do regional authorities provide any support?

In my opinion, the state and our company have built correct and productive relations. Tax and audit inspections have never found any violations. It is well known that today environment protection requirements and control became stricter than before. We observe all orders and regulations issued in all levels. For example, we perform receptivity of profiles and camps. It costs much, but we have the rules to follow and the law to observe.
I would say we are in harmony with local administrations of those regions where we work. In many of them our company plays city-forming function. In Labytnanga, Stary Urengoy and Kolpashevo the majority of population is involved in activities performed by Integra -Geophysics Company. And when we need to make structural optimization of the company, we realize all responsibility for the future of people, importance of maintaining employment rate, taking  all possible measures to provide future footprint of Integra-Geophysics Company in such regions. These things meet needs of their inhabitants and our workers. In my opinion, local administration appreciates such approach.
Recently it was written much about alliance between Integra and WesternGeco (Schlumberger division)...
Yes, we are partners, as it was already mentioned, with the following distribution of shares in the JV: Integra – 75 %, WesternGeco – 25 %. Perhaps, I repeat myself again: Integra -Geophysics is a serious, stable and well known company, one of the three  leaders in the seismic survey business in Russia. We have our own historical course, high qualified personnel, and reliable marketing policy.
Partnership with WesternGeco (Schlumberger) will help us to strengthen our market position. Now, we can use resources of this company that is notable for its high industrial standards, developed infrastructure that embrace the whole world, and high management standards. We expect to benefit from the synergies, created by combining our technologies and market experience. And our potential will help to develop not only our companies, but our clients as well, as they can enjoy our high tech, innovative services and equipment.
As it is known, today none of technologies can be called “High” or modern when it destroys environment, though it may have many advantages. One of emphasis in our work is minimization of harmful effects on the environment during operation. How can we achieve it? Firstly, by using new equipment – cutters and splitters. These are machinery, which split wood. In the process of preparation of seismic profile, it is necessary to perform not only cutting of wood but its splitting as well. Coarse woodchips dissolve in some time, so, we do not bring damage to the forest range. Secondly, we minimize damage of the forest range, when cut one meter profile instead of four meters, which is standard figure in seismic survey development. Such result is achieved with the help of narrow off-road or oversnow vehicles.
According to the terms and conditions of the partnership, we have access to so-called “knowledge library” provided by Schlumberger. We can get benefit from huge amount of technical information, e.g. when planning to develop a new region.
We can also use unique technology UniQ developed by WesternGeco that helps getting more detailed data with better quality.
After establishing the JV together with Schlumberger, Integra-Geophysics Company received experience and equipment for works in littoral zones. For example, in Yamal peninsula, The Caspian and The Black Sea. In return, we invest into the JV operating infrastructure in numerous Russian regions, more than 30 of field units, experience of interacting with authorities and Russian oil companies.
The idea is the following. Through the JV Integra got access to modern technologies, unique data bases and practical experience in all geographic conditions, in which geophysics investigations are being performed. Thus, it significantly increased its potential possibilities. Clients and partners from many strong Russian companies  will also get their benefits: quality of services will rise and scope of services will be extended. If the company is a successful one, it may contribute more into development of regions where it operates. This is done not only through paying taxes but also through active participation in social programs of Russian regions. This is so-called, win-win situation
Meanwhile, some think that Schlumberger intends to buy Integra-Geophysics business...
Integra’s management announced many times refusal from selling of its business. After being established in Russia, having largest world seismic survey business, Schlumberger Company achieves entrance to the Russian market. Why sell it?
Questions – Petr Danilov