Sergey Knyazev
Senior Operations Support Engineer, 26 years old

With SPD since 2008

Starting Out

For me, it all began with Shell Graduate program for undergraduates and graduates of relevant universities, the purpose of which is to engage and develop young specialists in the companies where Shell is a shareholder. After several rounds of screening and interviews, I ended up at SPD – a joint venture of Shell and Sibir Energy at that time. I was surprised that I was immediately assigned a coach – an employee of the company, who helped me adapt in the new environment, introduced to the corporate culture, and very promptly briefed me on all relevant projects. I believe that the institute of coaching is a powerful advantage for our company, thanks to which new employees feel the friendly atmosphere from the very first minutes and feel they belong to the team immediately.

On Corporate Culture

At the basis of our culture, there are the corporate values which are not merely declared but abided by in everyday work of any department. For instance, attitude of openness and trust between colleagues, irrespective of status and position, is one of our values. You can bring any problem to a manager at any level, including the CEO, without the fear of not being heard out or misunderstood. The policy of ‘open doors’, which very many companies are lacking, helps solve the most challenging tasks very efficiently.

In addition thereto, the safe operations culture is a fundamental component of the corporate culture. People fully understand the importance of safety and labour safety issues in all spheres, both at work and at home, and accept it; this is relevant both for SPD employees and contractors.

On Self-Actualization

This will probably sound populist but SPD has all the opportunities for self-actualization. This is indeed the case. Moreover, the system has been built whereby an employee, obtaining benefits for him- or herself and working on his or her personal and professional development, does good for the company as well. The more ambitious his or her goals are, the greater is the benefit for the company. The company’s general tasks are converted to individual ones, and vice versa. Thanks to the learning and development system, you can take courses and complete training every year – the most important thing is to justify the need for them. During the 5 years of my work here I underwent training both within the company and on the premises of Shell, one of our shareholders. This was a unique experience for me – taking part in joint educational sessions with employees of absolutely different division. The topic may seem familiar; however, when it is discussed by people with a different working experience gained under radically different conditions, it elevates your mind very much and unveils completely different aspects in a seemingly well-studied problem. I gained quite a lot from learning in the Netherlands and Oman. I also participated in the partnership program of Shell and Curtin University of Technology (Australia); the result of the learning was an internationally accepted Master’s degree.

On ‘earthly’ advantages of working with the company

I am sure that, all other conditions being equal, our company can offer its employees very attractive working conditions. It is very important for me that the company insures its employees – this is both a manifestation of care and interest in fruitful long-term cooperation. SPD offers both voluntary health insurance, insurance for those travelling abroad, and life insurance. Of course it is better to never use these types of insurance; however, it is much safer to be aware that you are protected on this side as well. In addition thereto, it is very important for me to have an opportunity to work in an international team with professionals from all over the world. International specialists are always a unique experience and expertise, a special atmosphere in the team, and a special view on many things that have become stereotypes in Russia. It is also beneficial to have flexibility in work and rest arrangements: I had a chance to work in an office and currently work on the field on rotational basis.

On working on rotational basis

One should try many things both in profession and in life. Working on rotational basis is a clear delineation between work and rest. When you are on duty you can completely dedicate yourself to work, nothing distracts you, and all your thoughts are only focused on achieving the goal. Probably first days of the shift get drop out due to immersion in the work process; however, the performance is substantially enhanced day to day thereafter. You can make a clear plan of work for this period and achieve outstanding results by adhering thereto. Moreover, we have very good conditions on the field: you can go to the gym, play basketball or volleyball, and ‘roll balls’ in the billiard room. There also are TV rooms, a library, and a sauna. Or you can simply watch a new season of Game of Thrones – free Wi-Fi is available on the field. And of course one of the main advantages is the time off duty, a kind of vacation every 2 months, you recover your strength and return to the new working shift freshly energized.

On future

I keep moving towards more complicated tasks and greater responsibility. I would like to improve my personnel management skills; so far, it all has been successfully achieved. International experience is extremely interesting for me; our company fortunately provides an opportunity to gain such experience through traineeships at Shell’s international assets. I am happy to have become a part of Salym Petroleum once, and I hope that our future collaboration will be as fruitful.

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