Q&A with Viacheslav Zyrin

Materials World magazine
3 Jul 2017

Kathryn Allen talks to Viacheslav Zyrin, Associate Professor at Saint Petersburg Mining University, Russia, about the benefits of becoming chartered. 

Tell me about your background. 

I graduated from Saint Petersburg Mining University in 2005, in electrical engineering for oil and gas plants. I then did a postgraduate course in electrotechnical complexes for the mining industry. I got my PhD in this subject, with the topic of my PhD research being electrotechnical complexes for heavy oil extraction. After that, I started working for my university and I’m now an associate professor.

What inspired you to study engineering? 

I like engineering because you can create something and improve the process, making it more efficient – that's what inspires me. 

What does your day-to-day work involve? 

My work at the university involves putting together lectures and supervising students, but as a scientist I am also involved in research projects. I am currently working with a group of students to create a new technology for the oil and gas industry. My students have a lot of interest in this area. I also work with companies interested in our research. 

Can you tell me more about your current Projects?

My current research concerns creating a new technology of unconventional hydrocarbons recovery, such as heavy oil and gas hydrate. Effective technology for heavy oil recovery is of great importance nowadays, because of worsening geological conditions of the developed deposits, decreasing recovery factor and increasing the part of heavy oil. 

Future sustainable development of the oil-producing industry relies on the involved technologies being energy effective and ecologically safe. Gas hydrate is a potentially new energy source and there are only a few countries with research projects looking into it, so it’s very interesting. At Saint Petersburg Mining University, we are creating the electrotechnical complexes on the base of downhole heat generators for unconventional hydrocarbons recovery. 

What has been your biggest career highlight? 

The Government of St Petersburg has awarded me twice for my scientific work, which is a great honour. These awards related to two projects – the first was about the downhole electrosteam generator for heavy oil recovery. The main advantages of this device and the technology are ecological safety, energy efficiency and the high efficiency of the extraction process. The second project was about the technology for gas hydrate extracting. The gas hydrate is a combination of methane and water, combined under low temperature and high pressure. It is a form of ice. My role involved creating a safe heating technology for hydrate deposit.

You recently became chartered, why did you decide to do so? 

In Russia the process of becoming a chartered engineer is a new assessment system, so we are trying to make it more commonplace and efficient, which is why I wanted to go through the chartership process myself.

We've got a similar system supporting professional growth in Russia but it is only used by industry – the state system is a testing process. That is why the National Association of Mining Engineers was launched in Russia – to provide constant professional growth and to create the professional qualification assessment system for mining engineers. It has the same goals as the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining. 

I also wanted to prove myself – to show that I am qualified enough to be a mining engineer, and for this to be recognised officially. 

How did you prepare for the process of becoming chartered? 

The process of becoming a chartered engineer involves creating new technology, so I’ve had plenty of experience to help me throughout my career. My whole career has been preparing me for this process. I think if you have enough experience it is not hard or stressful. 

Would you recommend becoming chartered? 

Absolutely, I would definitely recommend it to my students and colleagues. 

Do you think it has had an impact on your career progression? 

Yes, definitely. It can help you progress more and get involved in the global mining engineers community. You become a part of and can communicate with the global community and are more involved in its activities. I can now build relationships with engineers not only in Russia but globally, in particular with British engineers, and hopefully we can learn a lot from each other. 

I like the IOM3 chartership process as it involves professional progression – this is one of the main reasons I chose to be chartered with IOM3. It helps your career and makes sure you do not just stay in one place. 

Do you have any advice for other people thinking of becoming chartered? 

Remember that it's not a scary or daunting process. I think if you have enough experience and the right qualifications, you shouldn’t be worried. It helps to further your career as the chartered grade is recognised worldwide and you become part of a highly qualified group of people. It’s a huge honour. 

What do you have planned for the future? 

I would like to progress professionally, eventually becoming a professor at Saint Petersburg Mining University, but I need to gain more experience for that. I would also like to write my doctorate, which will concern creating the complex for unconventional hydrocarbons recovery, including extraction and transportation.