Nizhnekamskneftekhim’s result: capitalisation growth, rubbers of the future and plans for 495 MW thermal plant construction

The biggest petrochemical enterprise sums up the performance in 2019

Amid the uneasy situation in the world’s rubber and plastic market, the capitalisation of Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC, which is a part of TAIF GC, reached 174,9 billion rubles by late 2019 having increased by 56,2%. The enterprise managed to achieve the record indicators thanks to constant improvement of production, the launch of new units and the gradual performance of environmental tasks. Last year, NKNK completed big reconstruction of biological treatment facilities. Environmental costs in 2014-2020 have totalled around 29 billion rubles. Read in Realnoe Vremya’s report the details about Nizhnekamskneftekhim’s performance in 2019.

Nizhnekamskneftekhim produced 2,5 tonnes of products

Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC ended 2019 with a significant expansion of production capacities. The petrochemists manufactured 2,5 tonnes of products. There were achieved record-high indicators in such types of products as ethylene — 618,000 tonnes, benzene — 274,800 tonnes, styrene — 307,300 tonnes, isoprene production from isobutene rose up to 217,000 tonnes. It became possible to achieve the considerable results thanks to uninterrupted production modernisation as well as investment projects on the expansion of capacities of isoprene monomer and synthetic rubber plants that had been implemented earlier.

During the year, Nizhnekamskneftekhim launched new catalyst production in the oligomer and glycol plant. A benzene extraction unit in the ethylene plant reached its installed capacity. The production of new types of goods was successfully launched in 2019 — high molecular weight polyethylene glycol and methoxypolyaethylenglycolum.

To manufacture the new type of rubber, the production of butadiene rubbers was modernised. The plastics plant mastered the production of three types of polypropylene, the production of low-density linear polyethylene increased.

Tendencies of world’s synthetic rubber market and rubber sales revenue growth

The main product of Nizhnekamskneftekhim in 2019 — synthetic rubbers — accounted for 43% of revenue from its own products sold, the share of plastics was 32%. Nizhnekamskneftekhim maintained its positions of the world’s leader in isoprene rubber production with 43,9% in the global market, keeps the third place in the world in butyl rubber supplies with 17,5%. The butadiene rubber made by Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC holds 5,3% of the world market. This allows the company to be in the world’s top 10 synthetic rubber manufacturers.

Meanwhile, the world’s synthetic rubber market had significant changes in 2019 such as the aggravated trade war between the USA and China and a decline in production in the world automotive production, which brought to a surplus of production capacities compared to demand.

Against the backdrop of almost 5% economic growth, according to IHS Markit, world demand for cars reduced, which led to a reduction in their production. Car manufacture in the USA fell by 1,3%, almost by 1 % in Europe, by 8,2% in China. Such a situation provoked lower demand for car tyres. Regions of North and South America became an exception of the general trend, there was registered a rise in demand. All this happened with low natural rubber rates, which is traditionally a benchmark for synthetic rubber prices.

Nizhnekamskneftekhim increases plastic supplies to domestic market

Most plastics of Nizhnekamskneftekhim are still designed for the Russian market. In 2019, Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC increased low-density linear polyethylene supplies to Russian enterprises by 13%. The enterprise also maintained positions in propylene copolymers and ethylene in Russia’s market. This happened partly because of high-speed production. Nizhnekamskneftekhim also goes on developing segments of polystyrene for heat insulation and food packaging.

Meanwhile, the polyolefin market as well as rubbers were significantly influenced by the trade war between the USA and China last year. A rise in the world’s production capacities based on “light” crude gas pyrolysis influenced exports. There have been launched nine gas pyrolysis units in the USA in the last two years with a total capacity of about 11 million tonnes of ethylene, which are processed into polyethylene on the spot.

While import duties of China on American commodities make US companies redirect a part of products to alternative markets. So the amount of American low-density linear polyethylene in Russia’s domestic market rose by 70% and reached 51,000 tonnes last year. Despite the current economic situation of the market, the absence of obstacles to import customs duties, Nizhnekamskneftekhim managed to increase its supplies to Russian plastic refiners thanks to effective pricing policy, a high quality of products.

Thermal power plant and fourth energy saving programme

Nizhnekamskneftekhim as a big manufacturer of rubbers and plastics consumes a lot of energy: 3 billion kilowatt-hours of electrical energy, 14,9 million Gcal of thermal energy, over 600 million cubic metres of natural gas. This is why the enterprise pays special attention to energy effective measures allowing reducing the prime cost of commodities.

Nizhnekamskneftekhim has been implementing the fourth energy saving programme since 2016 designed till the end of 2020. It will allow taking 180 measures with an economic effect at 682 million rubles. Within the fourth energy saving programme in 2019, there were taken 45 energy saving measures, as a result of which 6,7 million kWh of electrical energy, 75,400 Gcal of thermal energy and 319 tonnes of fuel equivalent were saved. The technologies introduced by Nizhnekamskneftekhim were awarded Grand Prix on a specialised exhibition in Moscow, which was organised during the 17th international energy forum Russia’s Fuel and Energy Complex in 21st Century.

Nizhnekamskneftekhim has taken about 1,400 measures in total since 2000 that are aimed to increase energy effectiveness. Over 2 billion rubles have been invested in them, while the direct economic effect, including VAT, has approached 5 billion rubles. During this time, the company has saved almost 390 million kWh of electrical energy, over 6,400 Gcal of heat and more than 196,000 tonnes of fuel equivalent.

Nizhnekamskneftekhim has taken about 1,400 measures in total since 2000 that are aimed to increase energy effectiveness. Photo: Maksim Platonov

The company gradually replaces outdated and exhausted energy equipment as well as equipment that doesn’t allow increasing effectiveness. Isolating switches and short circuit breakers in the main step-down substations were replaced for modern SF6 circuit breakers. Over 171 km of 6 kW cable has been substituted since 2011. After a major overhaul of networks, 53,242 luminescent lamps have been replaced. This cut costs on production lighting twice.

Soon, the company will start to develop the fifth energy saving programme. Nizhnekamskneftekhim also continues the construction project of a CCGT-TPP, which will allow the enterprise to produce energy on its own. We should remind you that an agreement on turnkey construction of a CCGT-TPP for Nizhnekamskneftekhim was signed between Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC and Siemens LLC in 2017.

The plant that is planned to be launched in 2021 will be able to run on syngas, which, in fact, is residues of the main plants of the complex. Nowadays there has been obtained a positive report of еру Main State Inspection on project documentation and a permit for construction. The main equipment was made and delivered to the construction site. Construction and assembly works are keeping to the schedule.

Environmental protection costs have totalled 29 billion rubles since 2014

The last year was breakthrough for Nizhnekamskneftekhim in resolving environmental issues. The enterprise completed the second stage of big reconstruction of biological treatment facilities and construction of a new industrial sewage tank 15 km in length. It will allow increasing the capacity of the sewage transportation system to the treatment facilities, augment its safety and reduce the environmental impact.

During the second stage of reconstruction of biological treatment facilities, obsolete equipment of mechanical treatment of chemically contaminated sewage was substituted — sand traps, a tank switching chamber was built, additional treatment stages such as a swimming pool to catch products and a sewage preaerator unit were added to the process flow diagram. Moreover, in the mechanical treatment unit, the petrochemists introduced one of the best European technology of steam and gas mixture treatment — a biofiltration method. The specialists managed to choose a system of biofilters with up to 95% treatment effectiveness.

The last year was breakthrough for Nizhnekamskneftekhim in resolving environmental issues. Photo: Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC

Over 3 billion rubles in total were allocated to reconstruct the BTF and construct the industrial sewage tank off the site. In general, there have been taken 423 measures in the fourth environmental programme designed for 2014-2020. Environmental protection costs have totalled about 29 billion rubles during this period.

What is more, Nizhnekamskneftekhim purchased and launched a special mobile environmental monitoring post that allows analysing the air quickly at any point of Nizhnekamsk District. The measures taken within the fourth environmental programme allowed improving environmental effectiveness indicators and reducing brake specific feedstock consumption by 9,7%, water for production — by 10,2%, emissions into the atmosphere — by 18,6%, thermal energy consumption — by 6,2% from 2014 to 2019.

Sense of responsibility to Nizhnekamskneftekhim workers

Nizhnekamskneftekhim continued implementing social programmes aimed to improve the quality of life of not only workers of the enterprise but also citizens of Nizhnekamsk in 2019. In the last five years, the company has allocated 522 million rubles to repair roads, reconstruct the embankment, culture centres, improve the infrastructure of parks and squares in Nizhnekamsk.

Nizhnekamskneftekhim allocated more than 112 million rubles to create a burns unit in the Nizhnekamsk Central Regional Multi-Disciplinary Hospital. For this purpose, two wards in Building No. 3 were equipped with two Holland burn recovery beds and ventilators.

Nizhnekamskneftekhim allocated more than 112 million rubles to create a burns unit in the Nizhnekamsk Central Regional Multi-Disciplinary Hospital. Photo: Rinat Nazmetdinov

Also, major repairs in the Polyclinic No. 1 on the territory of the industrial zone of Nizhnekamskneftehkim ended in 2019. This health care establishment provides medical advice to the employees of the enterprise. Unlike urban hospitals, it doesn’t have queues, there are a lot of specialists, there was arranged work for making a preliminary appointment with any specialist. The repairs in the polyclinic were done in three stages since 2015. After the upgrade, more open spaces with waiting areas for patients appeared. Doctors got rooms with ergonomic workplaces. Nizhnekamskneftekhim appreciates and respects the labour of its 15,000 workers, a 13% rise in salaries in 2019 is clear evidence of it.

Plans for 2020: fourth- and fifth-generation rubber development

In 2020, the construction of a new facility to manufacture olefins, the construction of a methanol plant and the construction of a thermal power plant with a capacity of 495 MW will become the main projects of the current strategic development programme of Nizhnekamskneftekhim until 2025.

Also, Nizhnekamskneftekhim plans to launch the production of butadiene-styrene rubber with a capacity of 60,000 tonnes a year by solution polymerisation in 2020. The assortment will consist of six types of divinyl styrene rubber of the fourth and fifth generation.

Moreover, Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC creates room to develop the sixth generation. Research and development don’t stop. Together with divinyl styrene rubber, the company develops the production of functionalised butadiene rubbers by anionic polymerisation. This series of special rubbers is to complement the assortment of butadiene rubbers that already exists in the enterprise.

By Yekaterina Kharitonova, Liliya Yegorova