No. 1, 2005

Alexander Pitersky


Russia's leading oil and gas university is 75 years old

Today, the I.M. Gubkin Russian State University of Oil and Gas is the leading educational establishment training engineers for the Russian fuel and energy complex. In the past 75 years, the University has made an enormous contribution to the development of specialized higher education and science.

A historical outline

The history of the Russian State University of Oil and Gas began on April 17, 1930, when the Stalin Moscow Mining Academy was dissolved by order of the Supreme Economic Council of the USSR and six new institutions of higher education were established on its basis. One of them was the Moscow Oil Institute placed under the jurisdiction of Soyuzneft, the state association of the oil and gas industry. On the same day and by the same order, Academician Ivan Gubkin was appointed director of that Institute, which subsequently was named after him. The next morning Ivan Gubkin signed a directive establishing four departments: Petroleum Geology and Exploration, Oilfield Engineering, Oil Refining, and Engineering Economics.

The establishment of the Moscow Oil Institute and the training of specialists for the oil and gas industry enabled the country to overcome within a short time the disastrous consequences of World War I and the Civil War, and to take a worthy place among the world's leaders in fuel and energy production.

As early as the 1930s, the Institute formed the basis of the national system of training engineers for the oil production and refining industry, a system which met the main requirements of the fuel and energy complex. In the 1940s, Gubkin University graduates began to develop the rich oil fields of the Urals-Volga area, dubbed "the second Baku", which were of tremendous importance for winning the war against Nazi Germany. After the war those graduates were always in the forefront of the effort to restore the ravaged national economy by taking an active part in developing large oil fields in Western Siberia, the Yamal peninsula and the Caspian region. It was largely owing to their selfless, even heroic, effort that many achievements were scored in the main areas of oil and gas science, technology and engineering.

In the latter half of the 20th century, the fruitful work done at the Gubkin University helped to complete the formation of the national system of higher education which graduated specialists for the oil and gas industry. At one time, the Ufa State University of Oil, the Ukhta State University of Technology and the Almetyevsk Institute of Oil were the affiliated branches of the Moscow Oil Institute.

Admittedly, the faculty's long and fruitful educational work aimed at disseminating technical knowledge as well as inculcating cultural and spiritual values both in Moscow and other parts of the country deserves the highest praise.

A center of oil-related sciences

Throughout its history, the Gubkin University has been an authoritative, world-famous research center. Its name has changed five times during the period of its existence. The University has been variously called: the Moscow Oil Institute, the Moscow Institute of the Petrochemical and Gas Industry, the Moscow Institute of Oil and Gas, the State Academy of Oil and Gas, and the Russian State University of Oil and Gas. Unchanged in all those appellations was the OIvan GubkinO part, and so the University's graduates have always been referred to as OGubkin graduates.O

Among the University faculty were outstanding scientists (some of them Ivan Gubkin's associates) such as: academicians A.V. Topchiyev, S.S. Namyotkin, L.S. Leybenzon, I.I. Chernyayev, Y.M. Paushkin and V.I. Isagulyants; and professors S.N. Obryadchikov, V.N. Dakhnov, V.L. Ryabinkin, F.A. Trebin, N.I. Chernozhukov and V.D. Taran.

Furthermore, the graduates of the Gubkin University include such prominent statesmen, scientists and oil industry leaders as: Valentin Shashin, the Minister of the USSR Oil Industry in 1965-1977; Academician Yury Kosygin; Yury Luzhkov, the present Mayor of Moscow; Valery Grayfer, Chairman of the Board of Directors of JSC LUKOIL and General Director of JSC RITEK; and Ravil Maganov, First Vice-President of JSC LUKOIL.

A highly noteworthy fact: 75% of the textbooks and other study aids used in training engineers for the oil and gas industry in Russia were compiled by graduates of the Gubkin University.

Today, the University, which has more than 7,500 students at its eleven departments, provides instruction in nine areas of knowledge and 27 specialties embracing exploration and development of oil and gas fields, hydrocarbon production, transportation, storage and processing.

Because oil and gas are unique as objects of scientific research, and owing to their great social and economic importance in the modern world as well as to the complexity of technology and equipment used in the industry, most of the areas of knowledge and corresponding specialties are considered to be science-intensive. Therefore, professional training of specialists for the oil and gas industry is based on university-level knowledge received in the course of studying natural and socio-economic disciplines, as well as the humanities.

The current multilevel educational system (the Bachelor-Certified Specialist-Master sequence) has imparted an individual character to the process of instruction at the University, offering its students a wide choice as to the form, content and level of education.

That, on the whole, has made it possible to react more flexibly to the requirements of the market economy and to raise the competitiveness of the Gubkin University's graduates on the domestic and foreign labor markets. In other words, this has ensured international recognition to the graduates of the Russian State University of Oil and Gas.

The community of science and production

Today, the Gubkin University continues to develop and strengthen its ties with the leading Russian oil companies, which makes it possible to meet more fully the constantly growing needs of production. Among the University's trustees are such joint-stock companies as LUKOIL, Gazprom, TNK-BP and RITEK, as well as some other companies and organizations of Russia's fuel and energy complex. An example of their fruitful cooperation is the fact that LUKOIL, JSC Surgutneftegaz, JSC Rosneft, JSC Transneft, JSC Stroytransgaz and several other companies have established scholarships for the University's best students.

Russia's oil companies have rendered effective assistance to the process of instruction at the University by helping to set up well-equipped laboratories there. For instance, LUKOIL has provided the University's center for geological modeling of hydrocarbon fields with the latest equipment worth 4.5 million rubles. This equipment makes it possible to conduct practical work for the entire complex of geological and hydrodynamic modeling of hydrocarbon fields. With the help of Transneft, modern high-precision equipment designed for studying the archeological parameters of the high-viscosity and high-solidification types of oil was installed at the Oil and Gas Transportation and Storage department. RITEK has helped to equip the University's main auditorium with audio-visual and other technical study aids.

Last December the oilmen made, in the words of Prof. Albert Vladimirov, Chairman of the Academic Council of the University, "a royal gift" to the Oil Refining Technology department. Reconstructed with the direct assistance of LUKOIL was the laboratory for training in the course of Thermodestructive Processes of Oil Refining. The German company Grace Davison has presented to that department an SCT-MAT catalytic cracking laboratory installation, while TNK-BP has modernized its computer-training classroom. That training complex is intended for studying the crude recycling methods, particularly with the help of thermal and catalytic cracking installations. The equipment of the complex enables students to use the latest methods of analyzing the products of the thermo-catalytic transformations of crude oil, including chromatographic and colorimetric ones. With the help of the SCT-MAT installation it is possible to determine with a high degree of accuracy the properties of a catalyst in conditions closely resembling those present in industrial installations. The SCT-MAT also makes it possible to modify, within a broad range, the modes and parameters of the process of catalytic cracking, including the time of contact, volume velocity, temperature and pressure - while being assured of obtaining highly accurate results.

The computer programs provided by JV PetroCom for the computer-training class help specialists to practice realization of standard procedures such as start-ups, planned and emergency outages, changing operation modes, etc. The use of such training equipment is part of the advanced teaching methods.

In a word, that modernized educational complex is well suited for the training of highly-qualified specialists with Bachelor's and Master's degrees in "the chemical technology of processing natural fuels and hydrocarbon materials".

On the international scene

The University's leadership, headed by Prof. Albert Vladimirov, attaches great importance to developing international ties. Being a member of the European University Association (EUA), the Gubkin University takes an active part in implementing the Tacis and Tempus-Tacis international programs.

Its present student body includes over 560 persons from 47 countries of the world. The most numerous communities of foreign students are from the People's Republic of China, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Republic of Yemen, the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and the Republic of Uzbekistan.

Of late, the Gubkin University has substantially expanded its contacts with the leading oil and gas educational establishments in the United States, Canada, Great Britain, France, Germany, and the People's Republic of China. The University has agreements of friendship and cooperation with many higher educational establishments abroad. Among them are: the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Wyoming (the United States), the TU Bergakademia Freiberg and Siegen University (Germany), the Rogaland University (Norway), the Mining University of Leoben (Austria), and the Cracow University of Technology (Poland). The instruction programs and plans of higher educational establishments abroad are constantly being studied at the Gubkin University. Over 200 members of its faculty have had advanced training at leading foreign research centers and university laboratories.

The Gubkin University widely employs a form of instruction where students, who have a good command of some foreign language, are sent abroad to study for a few semesters at an oil and gas establishment of higher education. There they study subjects which are similar to those on the curriculum of their university. Particular attention is paid to learning the advanced technologies aimed at raising the efficiency of geological, geophysical and drilling operations, new methods of developing hard-to-recover oil and gas reserves, and of hydrocarbons refining, transporting, storing and marketing.

Established on the basis of the Gubkin University has been a national center of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) which is engaged in tackling problems of introducing clean technologies in the oil and gas industry. A program of cooperation in the field of oil economics and management is being successfully implemented jointly with the National Institute of Petroleum (France).

An evidence of its high international prestige are many awards won by the University, including the gold medal of the French Association for the Promotion of Industry (SPI), and the Order of Friendship of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

For 75 years now the I.M. Gubkin Russian State University of Oil and Gas has played a key role in determining the strategic direction of higher education in the oil and gas sphere. At the same time, the University has remained the largest and most important scientific and educational center of Russia's oil and gas industry. Actually, the history of the Gubkin University is part of the overall history of the development of energy resources in Russia. Responding to the demand of time, the teaching staff of the University are doing a fine job of training highly qualified specialists capable of coping with the tasks facing the oil and gas industry in the 21st century.

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Oil of Russia, No. 1, 2005
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