GUANGZHOU, CHINA (June 2, 3 p.m. ET) — The massive Russian conglomerate Sibur Holding CJSC is progressing with construction of a previously announced, $2 billion petrochemical complex in Siberia that by early 2013 will triple its polypropylene homopolymer production capacity, with much of that output targeted for export to China.
Artem Krupinov, head of section for the Plastics & Organic Synthesis business unit, said in an interview at the firm's Chinaplas 2012 booth that the new plant in Tobolsk will have the capacity to produce 1.1 billion pounds of the homopolymer, whereas Sibur currently has plants in Moscow and in Tomsk, Siberia, that together can manufacture about half that amount of the material. Last year, though, domestic demand consumed nearly all that output, leaving none for export.
The new facility —called Tobolsk Polymer — will use Innovenne PP technology licensed from Ineos to produce up to 70 grades of the material, and will be Russia's largest polypropylene plant. The grades will be used in injection molding applications, fibers, and biaxially oriented PP and cast films and sheets. About half the homopolymer outlook will be consumed in Russia, with the balance going mostly to China, though pricing may lead some to find its way to Europe and Turkey, Krupinov said.
He said Sibur is planning another PP plant – this one with 441 million pounds for copolymers – in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, that is due to come on stream in 2014 or 2015.
Meantime, construction of the Tobolsk plant in Siberia is an engineering marvel in its own right. Late last year Sibur installed a huge column at the site for the separation of propane-propylene fraction. The column – 315 feet high and weighing 2.4 million pounds — was made in South Korea, shipped across the Indian Ocean through the Suez Canal to Antwerp, Belgium, from where it was shipped to the Russian port of Tobolsk-Neftekhim. The port had to be dredged and expanded to accommodate the column.
Sibur is a dominant polymer producer in Russia, producing some 1.3 billion pounds of various polymers in 2010. It claims the following shares of Russian production for these products: polypropylene (20 percent), polyethylene (18 percent), propylene (26 percent), butadiene (47 percent), isoprene (21 percent), synthetic rubbers (35 percent).
The firm also produces PET, ABS and PVC resins, styrene, BOPP films, various polymer compounds, and is Russia's largest tire maker. It has 441 million pounds of PET capacity, 242 million pounds of BOPP film capacity and 165 million pounds of other plastics capacity.