The adage that an old dog can’t learn new tricks does not apply to Borets International. Borets is one of the leading manufacturers of oilfield equipment in Russia, continuing to develop its complete array of onsite equipment.

The company has also entered the developing coal bed methane market in recent years and is helping to drive advances in this sector – a business growing in its links to the LNG industry.

Borets clearly can learn new tricks, as its rich history of more than 100 years in business continues on its progressive path.

Dating back to 1897 Borets manufactured steam and drive pumps. Continued product development through the years found Borets International developing quality oil field equipment by 1995 and furthering its capabilities by developing new Electric Submersible Pump (ESP) dual pad stage technology in 1996. This propelled the company into the arena of state-of-the-art ESP equipment.

During 2000-2003, the company concentrated on the development of new lines of dispersant gas separators and mobile gas boosters for both the oil and gas industries. By the end of 2005 Borets International had set the standard in direct customer services in Russia, through its Centroforce service company.

This concept provided turnkey services to customers looking for cost reductions, technical support and complete services for obtaining longer run-lives.

In 2006 new technology development saw the introduction of an industry changing technology, incorporating permanent magnets as the prime mover in an Electric Submersible motor.

Additional focus
The acquisition of the Coal Bed Methane (CBM) group (the ESP division of Weatherford International) in Wyoming gave Borets International its first look at the CBM market.

The CBM business has experienced a flourish of late for a number of reasons, largely as it has become an important source of energy in the US, Canada, Australia and many other countries in recent decades. High natural gas prices have also made CBM more economically viable, where it previously may not have been.

Also referred to as coal seam gas, CBM is actually a form of natural gas extracted from coal beds and known as a ‘sweet gas’ due to its lack of hydrogen sulfide. Present in a near-liquid state and stored within coal by the process of adsorption, CBM is mainly methane with traces of ethane, nitrogen and carbon dioxide – it’s of growing significance to the LNG market too.

LNG itself is predominantly methane (typically more than a 90% constituent) and with the capability to convert methane into high-value LNG, CBM is a market moving forward.

Borets recognised that the CBM or the unconventional gas market was a unique market, with a set of specific challenges totally different from the core oil business. After an in-depth study, Borets determined that with dedicated resources and a focus on the special issues found in unconventional gas, solutions to these challenges could be found and shared with the operators worldwide.

New solutions to old problems
Borets also realised that products will only go so far in addressing the challenges and promptly set out to team up with industry experts to create an ‘unconventional gas consulting’ team.

The new group now offers a comprehensive approach to assist from the beginning of a project through to the de-watering process – eliminating common problems in unconventional gas wells.

The new Unconventional Gas Division has drawn on the 20-plus years of unconventional gas de-watering experience to develop processes that eliminate most common areas of concern.

As a result, Borets International is providing the unconventional gas industry with a new resource of proven techniques and processes, designed to avoid early problems and solve those that materialise during the de-watering process.

Borets International – a 19th century company still leading the way in the 21st century.

Key acquisition
In 2008, Borets International acquired 62% the ESP division of Weatherford International. Weatherford International, seeing the great potential of this marriage retained 38% ownership.

The ESP group included the oil field ESP group in Midland Texas, Oklahoma City, Casper Wyoming and Breckenridge Texas (all in the US), as well as operations in South America, the Middle East, the Asia-Pacific, and Canada.

The acquisition also included the Coal Bed Methane ESP group located in the Powder River Basin of Wyoming

Although less profitable, ConocoPhillips is attempting to convert CBM to LNG for export from its breakthrough project at Gladstone, Queensland in Australia.

Besides ConocoPhillips, other companies working on CBM-LNG projects in Gladstone are a joint venture between Santos, Petronas, BG Group and Liquefied Natural Gas.