The OKB BN was the only research facility in the country developing ESPs. Its innovations and accomplishments drove the Russian oil industry from 1951 through the end of the century. It was largely responsible for increasing oil production rates across the country and in maintaining those rates for decades.
ESPs were first used in Russia in 1943 during World War II (referred to inside the country as the Great Patriotic War) when 53 REDA pumps were sent from the USA to the USSR under a lend-lease agreement. Engineers at the OKB BN received drawings from ESP inventor Armais Arutunoff and even visited Arutunoff in the United States at his REDA pump company to learn about the submersible pumping systems. OKB BN scientists took what they had learned and began their own efforts to research, develop, and implement ESP technology in Russia.
The EN-700-300 was the first Russian-made ESP and had a nominal flow rate of 700 m3/day (4,400 B/D) with a 300-m (984-ft) head. It was developed within months of the OKB BN opening and was installed on March 20, 1951 in well No. 18/11 in Oktyabrneft for Grozneft.
Special recognition is due to the first leader of the OKB BN, Alexandr Antonovich Bogdanov. Under his leadership OKB BN was organized, launched, and kept running during the 17 most difficult years of its formation.
Oil wells across Russia typically feature large wellbores and have relatively high production rates. Because of these conditions, ESPs were perfectly suited to help Russian oil producers maintain flow and increase oil production. The perfect technology for the existing application, ESPs grew very quickly in popularity.
The work done at the OKB BN was instrumental in increasing oil production in the Soviet Union and in helping the country recover from World War II. Before the ESP was introduced, production across the USSR totaled around 40 million tons of oil per year. Over the next 30 years, the widespread use of ESPs was largely responsible for oil production that hit 500 million tons annually. As of 2010, 75% of the oil produced in the Russian Federation came from wells running ESPs.
The OKB BN, referred to now as the CONNAS Multifunction Test Facility, is today a modern research facility with multiple labs and test wells dedicated to researching and developing new innovations for ESP and other pumping systems.