Oil & gas industry’s chief air logistician

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Oil and gas equipment is one of the growing commodities within the airfreight business. With oil fields and plants moving to more remote locations, the demand to deliver material gets more complex and requires specialised services. These equipment cannot travel in belly hold as it is huge in size and requires special handling. And most of these need to reach destinations not normally served by wide-body passenger aircrafts. Andrey Rassadkin, sales director of charter operations at Volga-Dnepr Airlines shares his thoughts on the way the air freight industry continues to play a key role in the supply chain management of the energy sector and the challenges involved in it.

How significant is your charter freight operations for the oil and gas industry? Could you give us an idea about the number of charter flights you operate monthly? Volga-Dnepr Group, over the years of intensive charter operations since 1990, has become a truly recognized expert on the international market of air transportation of heavy and outsize cargo. Our vast experience based on operation of the largest fleet of unique ramp airplanes such as giant An-124 and smaller IL-76TD-90VD, makes Volga-Dnepr being a part of logistics chain for world oil and gas industry. Transportation of wide range of oil and gas equipment is one of the key activities for Volga-Dnepr Group. Over the past 24 years, we have been participating in many exciting projects of the big companies of the Industry. Our airplanes could be seen in various remote locations of the world such as Latin America, Africa and even Papua New Guinea delivering project cargoes. We have served all sectors of oil and gas industry: upstream (drilling equipment, pumps, power houses, blowout preventers), downstream (compressors, heat exchangers, separators, stabilizers, control units), midstream (tube bundles, pipeline valves, vents, pipe layers), oil spill recovery equipment and specialized vehicles. Volga-Dnepr Group has a capability to fulfill various client needs from urgent deliveries of oversize equipment to hardly accessible hotspots on a charter only basis to a complete package of door-to-door transportation. At least ten of a great number of our monthly flights are being operated for oil and gas industry. And since 1990 we have carried more than 90,000 tonnes of oil and gas equipment by our flagship An-124-100 and IL-76TD-90VD. In 2014 we have operated a 1100th ‘oil and gas’ flight. That was delivery of 45 tonnes of cargo which included part of the drilling machine with the hydraulic drive and the additional equipment from Rio de Janeiro in Brazil to Prestwick in the UK.

What are some of the important routes that you operate transporting equipment for oil and gas industry? The majority of Volga-Dnepr transportations for oil and gas industry are from Europe, India, Far East and Pacific and North America. More than 60 percent of deliveries are for such industrial regions as Russia, African countries and South East Asia.

Which are the oil and gas companies that you serve as the air freight logistics partner? Throughout our 24 years history of activity, Volga-Dnepr has operated for almost all major companies of the world’s oil and gas industry such as Exxon Mobile, Total, Shclumberger, Cameron, National Oilwell Varco, Halliburton, BP, Shell, Fluor, CB&I and others.

What are some of the innovative services that you offer for this particular industry? Volga-Dnepr’s fleet is able to land on unprepared runways loading and unloading with no need to use a special airport handling equipment. This is of particular value for the delivery of oil and gas equipment to remote regions where gas and oil fields are being explored. Also we design and manufacture bespoke loading systems and handling frames for specific projects. Shipping of massive super-heavy equipment can take weeks and months using ground transport or sea freight and sometimes its path makes it too dangerous for the equipment and people. Volga-Dnepr’s team can arrange the same deliveries within several days or even hours avoiding dangerous and time-consuming risks. Volga-Dnepr Airlines has safely completed 88 cargo flights carrying over 6,000 tonnes of equipment within just a window of 103 days to supply the ExxonMobil-operated PNG LNG Project, in the summer of 2013.

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