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The 20-year anniversary of the oil company: «We value the trust of our customers»

The oil company Tuymaada-Neft was established 20 years ago. During this time, it has expanded its business, strengthened its logistics, consolidated its position in the market and is preparing for new discoveries and solutions to its tasks. CEO Stepan Chepalov spoke in an interview about how the company developed and what goals they are striving for.

20 years is a long time and a lot has changed since then. How did Tuymaada-Neft grow into such a large player in the fuel market?

– The main business processes have remained unchanged – this is retail, wholesale, storage and processing of petroleum products, just these processes have become much more meaningful. We began to develop a network of gas stations in the village, at that time it was the main task of the company, and today we are trying to gain a foothold in the city of Yakutsk. Growth, development of the company is primarily based on the daily effective work of the whole team, aimed at the final result. All known postulates, no other factors, secrets.

Now you have more than 200 employees. How did you start?

– Now the company employs more than 300 workers. At first, about 50 people worked in the company, there was a tank farm in the village of Nizhny Bestyakh and only 4 gas stations.

What is the oil company Tuymaada-Neft?

– According to my data, our share in the oil products market in the republic is somewhere around 10%, depending on the assessment of the fuel sold in the republic. Here is the whole business. And if you look inside this share, then, first of all, it’s, of course, the employees, which the company really appreciates, it’s 34 gas stations, incl. 3 automatic stations, storage and processing of petroleum products in the village of Nizhny-Bestyakh, where we have our own tank farm and railway deposit storage. With the introduction of the railroad oil deposit, we have further strengthened the logistics; many major suppliers and consumers are already using our opportunities for refining petroleum products. Today, we are engaged not only in the sale of petroleum products, but we provide a full range of services: processing, storage and sale of fuel. And at each stage we try to serve the consumer at a high level: whether it is fuel delivery through a gun at a gas station or selling by tank trucks, selling oil products to a tanker from an oil depot. We can and supply fuel anywhere in the republic. For several years now, for the needs of the power industry, we have been supplying fuel through the NSR to the Arctic regions.

The company supplies oil products by both water and rail transport. Tell us how the logistics is built in your company?

– As noted above, with the construction of a new facility, it became possible to receive and ship up to 2,000 tons of fuel per day. The average journey time for tank wagons with fuel takes from 10 to 15 days, depending on the remoteness of the plants. Sealed tank wagons with fuel are directly supplied from refineries to the near-rail oil depot in Nizhny Bestyakh. Next, the fuel trucks are delivered to the Nizhne-Bestyakhskaya tank farm, a network of gas stations of the river banks, central and Vilyuysk groups of uluses of the republic. Sales volumes of gas stations in the Vilyuysk groups of ulus are delivered by tankers in the summer from the Nizhne-Bestyakhskaya tank farm. As well as to meet the needs of power engineers, our company delivers petroleum products from the port of Arkhangelsk through the Northern Sea Route to the Arctic regions of Yakutia. Regardless of the lack of water level for shipping on the headwaters of the Lena River, it became possible to ensure the delivery of the full volume of petroleum products to consumers through the Nizhne-Bestyakhskaya tank farm.

Where does fuel come from?

– Petroleum products are purchased from companies such as Rosneft, Gazpromneft, which arrive at the near-rail oil base complex in Nizhny-Bestyakh mainly from the Achinsk refinery, from the Angarsk refinery and from the Surgut refinery.

How is the quality control of petroleum products?

– Oil products that have passed quality control at a gulf in tank cars at oil refineries are sealed and directly delivered to the company’s rail tank farm, after the tank cars with factory seals have been lent, first of all the quality control of oil products from each tank is tested in the laboratory of the Nizhne-Bestyakhsk oil tank base and merge into tanks. Further, the fuel is transported by road to the tank farm tanks and to the company’s gas station network. When shipping fuel to ships, the laboratory additionally controls the quality of the fuel and gives permission for the bay. The laboratory constantly analyzes the fuel in the reservoirs of the near-rail tank farm and the oil depot after a new batch arrives and in the absence of a receipt in accordance with GOST every 10 days, moreover, analyzes are carried out periodically from the tanks of the petrol station.

Tuymaada-Neft has its own near-base oil base complex in the village of Nizhny Bestyakh, what has changed with the launch of the new facility?

– Logistics has changed. To Nizhny Bestyakh by rail, then by water to all consumers. It is beneficial in all respects: in money, and in maintaining the quality and quantity of petroleum products. For example, last year 1,223 tanks were recycled. This is about 127 tons of petroleum products.

Also, your company was the first to launch an automatic gas station in Yakutia. Of course, it is nice to be innovators, but it was certainly difficult. Where did the experience and knowledge come from?

– We were pioneers in this area not only in Yakutia, but also in the Far East. AAZS is a fully automated filling station, which makes it possible to refuel a car without using the services of an operator, and significantly save time. Our first AAZS was opened in the village of Nizhny Best 2014, then in with. Maya in 2016 and, finally, the third refueling was presented to residents of the capital in 2017 on ul. 50 years of the Soviet Army in Yakutsk. Of course, there are difficulties in operation. For example, the terminal in our cold weather outside does not work, in the winter we place them in a warm operator room, and in the summer next to the speakers. They can also be placed in small plots of land, which is an undoubted advantage over a stationary gas station.

How to cope with the introduction of AARS? Did the people adopt the innovation?

– Initially, there were difficulties with the adaptation of equipment to our weather conditions, new technologies were first tested in such severe frosts. Specialists of PC Electronics Ltd. came to the station launch, trained our specialists, helped install the equipment. We have been working closely with them for the eighth year. We met at a conference in Moscow, where we regularly go to share experiences with colleagues. We always strive for innovation. Consumers accepted the innovation with great interest, note the convenience, speed of service and modernity of the new station. In terms of the construction of another gas station along the Vilyuysk road in the city of Yakutsk.

The question of the cost of gasoline will never lose relevance. What do price fluctuations depend on?

– The key factor determining the price of a particular type of petroleum product remains the price of the manufacturer at the end of trading on the St. Petersburg International Commodity and Raw Materials Exchange, also influenced by railway and water tariffs of carriers. The wholesale and retail price in Russia is determined by several companies that have in their hands the extraction, processing and marketing of the so-called vertically integrated companies. These companies determine the prices of petroleum products on the stock exchange, and there the wholesale price of light petroleum products, unfortunately, is constantly growing from year to year, and they “hold” the price for retail in their gas station networks. Against this background, consumers correctly ask quite market questions: «Why is oil getting cheaper, and our fuel is more expensive or is there in the center, and we have such a price». In the cost structure for the purchase of one ton of diesel fuel, 78-80% is the cost of fuel, up to 15% of the costs associated with delivery, processing, storage, insurance, there is still the cost of borrowed money. Dependence on the purchase price – defining.

How do you manage to work in such a competitive environment, because there are a lot of big players in the market?

– Of course, today there is a lot of competition on the oil market of the republic. We are confident in the quality of our products and our loyal customers are loyal to our company. We also pay great attention to the quality of customer service. Every year we carry out gas station renovations throughout the country, introduce innovations and relevant services. Success today is the ability to survive in new realities. And then you can’t do without reliable partners, including in the face of the bank: the majority of entrepreneurs will sooner or later face the need for a loan. Sberbank has been our main strategic partner in the banking sector for 14 years. Before that, we worked with other banks. But having carefully studied the lines of all credit institutions, they realized that favorable conditions were in Sberbank. Today we also use the services of leasing and insurance of Sberbank, settlement and cash services. In Sberbank we have a salary project. We like the high-quality online service, convenient transfers and a large number of ATMs. I really appreciate good business partnerships – I try to communicate personally with both suppliers and other participants in the business process. In Sberbank, this is an individual approach to customers. We can contact the bank manager with any question and be sure that we will receive a prompt and comprehensive answer to it.

What can you say about cooperation with international companies?

– In 2011, our subsidiary «Tuymaadaneftegaz» JSC was established together with Chinese partners. The company is engaged in exploration and integrated geological study of oil and gas in four license areas.

Stepan Mikhailovich, what do you pay attention to when you arrive at the gas station?

– In Russia and abroad, I always visit not only major gas station networks, but also regional ones. First of all, I pay attention to the staff, to how it works, to the quality and speed of service, I try to notice some new, interesting, additional services, equipment, design of gas stations, technological equipment, location. I try to notice all the pros and cons. At our gas stations, we try to keep the bar high, meet all quality criteria and expand our services year after year. For example, last year we launched a self-service car wash that the citizens liked.

Let’s return to the 20th anniversary. What does this round date mean to you?

– This date for us is above all the trust of our customers. For 20 years we have been working for the sake of improving the living standards of our people. This is a reason to look back at the work done and evaluate its results. This is a reason to set for ourselves a big goal, to which we will go. We do not stop at what has been accomplished, 20 years is only the beginning.

What are the most pressing challenges facing the company today? Are there plans to expand the company or is the company’s future focused on the modernization of an existing enterprise?

– Against the background of unfavorable external factors such as the constant increase in wholesale fuel prices, the deterioration of economic activity among businesses, the population, our main task today is to increase the efficiency of the company, reducing costs. There are plans, of course, but more about that later, when the intention, the desire will become a reality.