Alexander Abramov
Head of Field Infrastructure and Personnel Transportation, 35 years old

With SPD since 2003

How it all started

It was 10 years ago. Purely accidentally, I came across contact details of a company that hired translators for working on a field on contractual basis. The field was owned by Salym Petroleum Development. Immediately upon arrival I was accommodated at a field camp where survey operations were conducted, and I stayed there for almost two months, which was a serious test for a person who was on duty for the first time. Nevertheless, I liked the work immediately. We drove to the woods on ATVs with labour safety employees, and supervised the progress of surveyors’ operations so that all safety standards and rules were complied with. This is how we spent all days – driving and skiing.

I haven’t had any experience working on rotational basis, so the word ‘rotation’ brought to my mind a cabin like those they put up on construction sites in urban conditions. The reality has indeed surpassed all expectations; the living conditions on the field were comfortable even 10 years ago, the rooms were equipped with air conditioners, there was a separate office area with computers and TV sets. I was very impressed!

On motivation and self-confidence

Employee development programs play motivational role in the company. As different from many companies, we have the practice of making individual development plans. An employee has a clear idea of his or her outlook for the years to come, you can plan your learning and clearly see the position you will take in 5 years. For instance, I joined the company as a translator and after a short time, as I got to know the company and the people and immerse in our corporate culture, I understood I can undertake more responsible missions. They accommodated my wishes and I joined the HSSE (Health, Safety, Security, and Environment) Department. This was an interesting time; I studied all field safety procedures in detail, and for yet another time noted the company’s non-conventional and non-formalized approach to these issues. Now I am Head of Field Infrastructure - this is a responsible and interesting position that makes it possible to improve the work processes you have been trusted with and improve yourself, your skills and techniques. I would like to add only this – there are hardly many companies that would allow me to develop my career in such a manner. Thus, I am grateful to SPD for being confident in me and my capabilities.

On relations between people and disclosing the potential

SPD is different from other petroleum companies in many ways. First of all, relations between people. The conditions are very democratic here. You are not afraid of your bosses, while communication between people is built in a very proper manner. Here you can solve a problem which does not require your manager’s attention directly, which is absolutely inconceivable in many large companies with rigid vertical hierarchy. At the same time, you can refer any issue to your bosses. This is very helpful for the work – you do not need to walk every step. From the very beginning as I joined the company, communication with the managers continued on equal terms. Undoubtedly the manager set forth tasks; however, the communication is direct and free. And I am sure that this was the fact that assisted me in becoming a manager. SPD’s corporate culture helps unveil talents of people working here. All conditions have been established to enhance professionalism and develop its staff, and I am a vivid example thereof. When you are transferred to another division with completely different functions, you get new tasks and new approaches to solution thereof, and your potential is disclosed. Thus, I currently have 19 direct reports; including contractors, this number is nearly 350. This is a great responsibility; however, the company spares no expense on training the managers and continuously develops its employees’ managerial skills.

On safety both in word and deed

As far as other differences are concerned, this is the approach to the issues of safety, in the broadest meaning of this word at that. The attention is paid both in word and deed. Safety irrespective of operating plans is the priority in SPD’s operations. As I become an employee of the company, the approach to work with safety taking priority was a nice surprise for me. The company doesn’t seem to have invented something new. However, when everyone including contractors complies with the rules, this bears its fruit. The careful attitude towards safety leads to a thorough planning of the operating process, therefore the positive results of SPD’s business. The concept of ‘safety’ in Salym includes everything: operations, traffic, and environment. Thus, for instance, all newcomers on the field are shown an educational video, almost feature-length, which, in additional to the standard aspects, covers those which might seem unexpected at first glance – for instance, behaviour in bear hazardous period. These of course are unexpected for townspeople in the first place, while we have the woods and wildlife, and its real masters – bears – pay visits to us quite frequently.

On team work

Working in a team is of a great significance for me. Team work is the foundation for everything. This is relevant for both working and managerial disciplines. A significant part of my work is built on eliminating challenges, finding a common language, and setting up the interaction. Then the result is achieved by the entire team. The horizontal relations in our team are extremely strong and efficient. I hope this will remain the case in the future.

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