8 Oct 2009 14:12

Lukoil, Rusnano sign partnership deal

MOSCOW. Oct 8 (Interfax) - Lukoil and Rusnano, the Russian nanotechnology corporation, have signed a strategic partnership agreement on the commercial use of nanotechnology in the oil and gas sector.

The companies "will identify priority projects and regions to test nanotechnology at Lukoil sites," they said in a joint press release.

"The oil and gas sector has always been a leader in the application of new upstream and downstream technology, and we also intend to implement nanotechnology more actively in our operations," Lukoil President Vagit Alekperov was quoted as saying.

"Innovatory development in Russia cannot be achieved without radically changing business approaches to the introduction of high technologies in production. I am convinced that the commodities sector can be a driver of this process," said Rusnano chief Anatoly Chubais.

Chubais said at the signing ceremony that "we have absolutely no intention of replacing the commodity-based economy with a hi-tech economy. The resources that we posses are a colossal wealth, and we have only developed 20% of them at best," he said.

At the same time, the fuel and energy sector could be a driver for high technology, Chubais said. One example is the recently approved project to project remove sulfur from associated gas. Another, which is at the approval stage, is for Perm-based Novomet to produce pumps for the oil industry using powder technology.

"It would be very interesting for us to use new technology, particularly during the later stage of a field's development," said Lukoil's Alekperov.

Rusnano might look at using composite materials instead of synthetic diamonds to drill wells, and develop new types of oil refining catalysts which currently use costly platinum.

Alekperov said Lukoil spent around 5.6 billion rubles on science and research, mainly of an applied nature, each year.