CHINASE | ENGLISH
Walking to them: we never stop our way to pursue our dream
On June 27, 2019, 7 Russian experts visited Shanghai Fiorentini. The company's International Project Manager Fan Yuanlong accompanied them with acceptance check of the fuel gas pressure regulation system. After the acceptance check, this 15m long, 9m high and 4m wide product will be the first to be transported by highway to Svobodnenskiy Rayon, Amurskaya Oblast, Russia through Heihe port. It will play a big role in Amurskaya gas processing plant undertaken by China Petroleum Engineering & Construction Corporation (CPECC).
Taking full advantage of other resources to vigorously develop the Belt and Road Initiative
"Amurskaya gas processing plant is the world biggest gas processing plant project, the biggest single project undertaken by CNPC in the engineering field in Russia, the key project in Sino-Russia cooperation in the Belt and Road Initiative, as well as the biggest international fuel gas regulation station project of Shanghai Fiorentini." When talking about this project, Fan Yuanlong' eyes gleamed with pride. In order to participate in this project, he has made preparations for five years with his team.
In May 2014, with the leaders of China and Russia bearing witness, China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) and Gazprom signed Sino-Russia natural gas supply agreement (east line) with a worth of 400 billion US dollars. According to the agreement, Russia will supply 38 billion m3 marketable gas (about 30 million t petroleum and gas equivalent) to China each year, which is about the petroleum and gas amount of Bohai Oilfield. It's a veritable "project of the century" reached by the leaders of two countries. At that time, many European and American enterprises also set sights on this project. In order to win this big project, Fan Yuanlong and his team seized the opportunities tightly.
Amurskaya gas processing plant is a key part of this "project of the century". It was built by the famous engineering company NIPIgas in Russia, with an area of about 20 football fields. In April 2017, CPECC signed the EPC Contract for bid section II (three bid sections in all) of Amurskaya gas processing plant project with NIPIgas, with a contract value of 2.52 billion US dollars. This provided a good opportunity for Shanghai Fiorentini to win the overseas project.
The company's Vice-general Manager Wang Yuzhong said: "Russia is a relatively closed high-end market. Although Shanghai Fiorentini is a leader in domestic fuel gas pressure regulation field, with international projects spreading in more than ten countries in Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Central Asia, and Africa, it's not an easy thing to successfully win this bid and complete the project." In order to take good advantage of the cooperation between China and Russia in the energy field and develop to the outside world relying on the resources of CNPC, the team participated in the long-term competitive bidding lasting from January to July 2018.
In order to win the project, the company needed to win the bid of CNPC and pass Russia's inspection of plant. The company needed to provide a solution and prove its strength with actual achievements. For this purpose, the team presented the experience of Shanghai Fiorentini and its going-out strategy. With several true international project cases, it proved that it can not only be capable of finishing the project, but also have the ability to provide maintenance and guarantee services within specified time limits. Finally, it became one of several enterprises that passed the onsite inspection of Russia and won a contract value of more than 0.1 billion yuan.
Winning this project, we need to work harder for three years; giving up this project, we will be regretting for a longer period.
Project Manager Denis Kulkow of NIPIgas Amurskaya gas processing plant said at the project initial meeting that: "This is a very challenging project." These several words are inspiring. In order to enter the Russian market, the company needs to pass the US ASME authentication, GOST calculation and test, EAC customs union authentication, and some other strict authentications. The project is located in an earthquake zone with severe coldness, so the product needs to meet the standard for resistance of an 8-magnitude earthquake, and can work normally under -52℃. This is also a very challenging project for Russian enterprises.
Fan Yuanlong said: "In order to ensure the project is safe and reliable, we make a very conservative design proposal with a very high safety factor." From bid invitation to implementation, the project design proposal has been revised for many times. Each time when the proposal was revised, the team needed to adjust its scheme. For example, the product is placed inside a specially designed case and will work in an environment at 10℃. For this reason, two sets of air-conditioner shall be installed for mutual backup. The product needs to be able to work under -52℃ even when the two sets of air-conditioner goes wrong.
Many suppliers exited from the bidding owing to these unprecedented challenges. No wonder the personnel from Italy Fiorentini reminded Shanghai Fiorentini team to make full preparations to deal with the difficulties, because the project is very difficult. But Fan Yuanlong said: "Opportunities and challenges always coexist. Winning this project, we need to work very hard for three years, but if we give up this project, I will be regretting for ten years."
During bidding, there were more than 102 English bidding documents (more than 7000 pages). The project Chief Engineer Zhang Feifei said: "Within half a year, we translated and read these documents one by one." After winning the bid, the Russia side sent us about 1000 standards in Russian, with a size exceeding 10G. The Russian side required us to make all documents in both English and Russian. We then realized that bidding was only a start of this long march.
Working together, building profound revolutionary friendship
The project needs to pass the authentication of the national standard of both China and Russia. The Russian side needs to check many products onsite, and some products need to be tested in Russia. For example, when a part is purchased from the US, even it has passed the explosion-proof certification of China and the US, it also needs to be sent to Russia for an explosion-proof test. Fan Yuanlong said: "During this process, our team solved different difficulties and never stopped the way forward." The design team of CNPC said, we had formed profound revolutionary friendship when working jointly.
Fan Yuanlong said: "In the environment under -52℃, the chemical components and mechanical property of many common materials can't meet the requirement. This means that we need to develop several tens of materials again." Some valves need to resist a high temperature of 350℃, and need to reach rigid sealing and zero leakage according to the Russian standard. For this purpose, the team carefully selected 386 fuel gas pressure regulation devices and inspected 1092 suppliers again.
"We sent the product technical documents to the suppliers, and many of them said they couldn't make it." This made Fan Yuanlong worried. The execution team had to visit the manufacturer and guide them to make improvements to the product design and techniques hand by hand. One supplier revised its design protocols repeatedly for one year.
The project is divided into five stages. Now the team has finished the first two sets of products and is receiving the acceptance check. These two sets will be delivered in the middle of July. At the end of this year, the team will finish the works of the first three stages and deliver 8 product systems. The team is racing with time. Fan Yuanlong said: "We try our best to identify the risks and problems as early as possible and solve them immediately, so as to have time to solve the unexpected problems possibly raised by the customer."
The acceptance check of the products is very strict. The products need not only to pass the acceptance check of CNPC and its third party inspection company, but also to pass the acceptance check of NIPIgas and its third party inspection company. This time NIPIgas came to the company for the acceptance check. They started the acceptance check according to disciplines from the last week one by one by reference to the Russian standard. According to the plan, the acceptance check will be finished in about one month. The degree of strictness and carefulness of the acceptance check went beyond the team's imagination. There were tens of thousands of pages of release materials in both English and Russian. The technical documents and test data should be 100% precise.
Fan Yuanlong said: "It's a valuable opportunity to win a bid of project which lasts for several years continuously. It will be a beautiful memory." This project marks an important breakthrough of the going-out strategy of Shanghai Fiorentini, and it's also valuable training for the team. "We will have further peace of mind after finishing this project, and we will have the courage to undertake any project in the world." said Fan Yuanlong with high expectations for the future.
Author: Yue Fusheng
Editor: Ma Yongxiang
Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology