Rustam Minnikhanov: “There would have been no further development of Nizhnekamsk hub if TAIF hadn't made the decision”

A gas pipeline worth 4,3 billion rubles and a football arena after reconstruction worth more than 400 million rubles has been opened in Nizhnekamsk

New impetus in the development of Nizhnekamsk Industrial Hub: Tatarstan President Rustam Minnikhanov has launched the operation of the new high-pressure gas pipeline at GDS No. 2, laid from Yelabuga to Nizhnekamskneftekhim. Besides, the petrochemical capital of the republic hosted the grand opening of a football arena and a reconstructed football stadium. Read about the multibillion-dollar investments of TAIF Group and a big sports festival with the participation of show business stars and famous football players on the occasion of the opening of the new football arena and the reconstructed Neftekhimik stadium, as well as the established record for mass ball juggling — in the material of Realnoe Vremya.

30-km gas pipeline built in 17 months

Having arrived in Nizhnekamsk, Tatarstan President Rustam Minnikhanov first went to the industrial site of Nizhnekamskneftekhim, where the solemn ceremony was held for the launch of the high-pressure gas pipeline GDS No.2 — Yelabuga Central Gas Station No. 2-Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC.

“This gas pipeline is our dream. We took different approaches to solving this problem (the issue of gas supply to the Nizhnekamsk cluster — editor's note) as much as we could. But there was no further development. And the step taken by TAIF Group — building at their own expense — it means a lot. The most unique and modern technologies that meet all environmental standards. Most importantly, we have huge prospects for further development of Nizhnekamsk Industrial Hub. We repeatedly talked about the environment and that there were problems. Especially in winter, when we had to start using mazut, and this is already an environmental burden. Now this matter has been settled. Second, we have tied the loop. This line can provide life support for all our industrial facilities.

I would like to congratulate all of us on this event. This is a good continuation of the recent holiday — Day of the Oil and Gas Worker. I would like to thank the designers, developer, who, before coming here, have gained a wealth of experience on other complex objects. This project has been implemented exceptionally successfully, and I very much hope that this experience will still be useful both in our country and in our republic. And most importantly, the customer is TAIF Group. There would have been no further development of Nizhnekamsk hub if TAIF hadn't made the decision. Very large investments — 4,3 billion rubles. But it will all pay off. Therefore, way to go!” said acting President of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov in his speech at the ceremony of commissioning the gas pipeline.

The commissioning of the gas pipeline became the final stage of TAIF's large-scale project to improve the reliability of gas supply to the group's enterprises located in Nizhnekamsk Industrial Hub.

The need for the construction of the gas pipeline arose along with the growth of Nizhnekamsk Industrial Hub and the increase in natural gas consumption. The capacity of the main gas pipeline — the branch to Nizhnekamsk Industrial Hub of Gazprom Transgaz Kazan PLC — was exhausted. During the period of maximum loads, especially in the autumn-winter period, the existing gas pipeline did not meet the current needs of the enterprises, which led to the burning of mazut at power plants. In case of damage — in the absence of a reserve — there was a threat of total interruption of gas supply to the entire industrial hub and Nizhnekamsk.

There was a question of stable gas supply for new and planned production facilities. Taking into account the development of Nizhnekamsk Industrial Hub, including TAIF Group, the unsecured demand for promising investment projects with natural gas will amount to more than 3 billion cubic metres by 2025. And by 2025, compared to 2009, the planned consumption of natural gas by TAIF Group's enterprises in Nizhnekamsk will almost triple. By this time, the production of carbon black, methanol, EP-600 complex and a number of others will be put into operation.

“The commissioning of this gas pipeline is a welcome solution to long-standing problems of meeting the growing needs of the enterprises of Nizhnekamsk Industrial Hub, in particular of TAIF Group, additional volumes of gas, which radically solves the task of ensuring reliable gas supply from two independent sources of gas supply, as well as opens up new opportunities for large-scale projects in the field of petrochemistry and refining. It was planned to implement the project for the construction of the gas pipeline back in the Soviet Union, but only now it has become possible to implement it. The gas artery with a diameter of 1200 mm and a length of more than 30 km was built in record 17 months. I sincerely thank all those who took part in the implementation of this unique project, which has no analogues in Russia — designers, engineers, builders, installers, gas service specialists. We express special words of gratitude to the leadership of the Republic of Tatarstan for their high trust and support," said Ruslan Shigabutdinov, the director general of TAIF JSC.

“We have brought there additional 4 billion cubic metres of natural gas a year. This means that new industries can develop, housing construction can develop, and the economy can develop. According to the investment plans of TAIF Group alone, which have been approved by our president, we plan to implement investment projects worth up to 1 trillion rubles by 2030. The implementation of all these projects could be jeopardized by the lack of natural gas. Now there is no such problem. Our colleagues, Tatneft Group, had similar issues. Now we see that their investment projects can also be implemented. And most importantly, the reliability of gas supply from two sources has been improved. If we have a problem with one gas pipeline system, we can easily transfer the load to another gas pipeline," Ruslan Gizzatullin, the deputy director general for energy and information technologies at TAIF JSC, told reporters.

“The difficulty of the project was that we had to pass three water crossings: Kama River (1300 m), Kriusha River (550 m) and Tanayka River (280 m). The latter two are located on the territory of the national park Nizhnyaya Kama, and according to federal law, no work can be carried out in national parks. We had no other option for laying the route. It was possible to go around the national park, exit from the other side. This is an additional 100 km. But then there would be such losses that the gas pipeline would be unprofitable. The pressure in the gas pipeline at the end point simply would not be enough, and we would have to put special compressor stations to increase it. Then it became clear to us that we needed to look for other options," Valery Sazanov, the director general of GTC PLC, told the correspondent of Realnoe Vremya.

The 30-km gas pipeline was built in 17 months. Its diameter is 1200 mm. The cost is 4,3 billion rubles. 2,7 km of the pipeline, including underwater sections, are built using the unique Direct Pipe technology, using microtunneling. This is what made it possible to minimise the impact on the environment and reduce the construction time.

“Microtunnelling is an environmentally friendly method. It has a number of advantages: it excludes ground works and speeds up the term of pipeline laying. Microtunnelling is when a pipe passes under the bottom of a river at a depth of 5-10 metres. A small pit is made on one side of the bank, the pipe goes in and goes out on the other side. There were no works that would violate the ground layer, flora or fauna," Valery Sazanov explained.

According to him, all existing technologies for laying the pipeline in Russia — cut-and-cover method of soil excavation and directional drilling — were unacceptable from an environmental point of view. The specialists of GTC PLC found out about the unique technology in Europe.

“We went to Europe for technology and found a very interesting option — the microtunneling method, which has been used all over the world from recent times. In the world practice, such long-lasting water barriers have been passed only a few times — in Canada and New Zealand. We could adapt the project to it and order the equipment at the factory in Germany. Our employees have repeatedly visited Germany and found a common language with our partners. Our order was unscheduled. We were very pleased when our delegation came — they raised the flag of Russia," says Valery Sazanov.

The most difficult and time-consuming passage was under the Kama River. It took two months. The well was drilled for 850 m in clay soils with periodic passage through layers of pebbles. According to experts, all the works have been done of high quality.

The main part of technically complex works was performed on the territory of Nizhnyaya Kama national park. They were conducted in compliance with environmental requirements.

“Before we entered the park, we had studied the whole picture, flora and fauna. In the course of the work, environmentalists repeatedly came. When the works were completed, the national park did not deteriorate. We used modern equipment and could improve the entire territory in the area of construction, removed thickets and weeds. Nothing but words of gratitude were said to us. Our work is unique from the point of view of environment. We worked in the autumn-winter period. Frozen soil was cut out in chunks, piled, which made it possible to make a trench. Then everything was carefully returned to its place. In the spring, all this was already a single space," Valery Sazanov, the director general of GTC PLC, told the correspondent of Realnoe Vremya.

“Indeed, the implementation of this project will give a new impetus to innovative development of economy and industry of Tatarstan, will preserve and enhance the environment of the national park Nizhnyaya Kama, and also will contribute significantly to improving the environment in Nizhnekamsk and Yelabuga districts," said Albert Shigabutdinov, chief advisor to the director general of TAIF JSC for the development, chairman of the board of directors of TAIF JSC.

New arena for children's football centre

After the official commissioning of the new gas pipeline, Rustam Minnikhanov came to the opening of Chulman Arena football arena. The foundation stone was laid at the end of last year. This is a gift for young football players for the 100th anniversary of TASSR.

“We already have four such arenas: one was built in Nizhnekamsk, second in Naberezhnye Chelny, and we are launching two in Kazan. All conditions will be created for football in the republic," the president of Tatarstan emphasised.

“This is a football arena that includes a football field measuring 95 by 45 metres for training sessions. As well as four changing rooms and four coaching rooms. It is identical to the one built in Naberezhnye Chelny and is intended for both football classes and various tournaments and competitions in football," said Deputy Minister of Sports of the Republic of Tatarstan Almaz Minigulov.

The area of the new indoor arena exceeds 5,500 square metres. Three hundred and twenty-nine million rubles were allocated from the regional and federal budgets for its construction. The building has a gym, waiting area, medical unit, security and fire station, storage of sports equipment and special equipment.

“Nizhnekamsk boys, football fans now have the opportunity to get practical skills in the new sports arena. Dear Rustam Nurgalievich, once again I would like to thank you for your support, for your great attention to sports, and for your support in all our projects," said Ayrat Safin, director general of Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC.

Chulman Arena will be attended by pupils of Neftekhimik FC youth sports school, which has recently been awarded the status of a children's football centre.
In Russia, such centres have appeared relatively recently. A year ago, this status was first awarded to 21 sports schools in Russia.

The decision to assign statuses is made at a meeting of the commission under the president of the Russian Football Union (RFU). Sports schools should have a developed infrastructure, have coaches with RFU licenses, and develop a DFC development programme and an event programme for each year. The status is assigned for 4 years, and the school receives organisational, methodological and educational support from the RFU.

The training of football players consists of two levels. The first one includes teaching children from 6 to 12 years of age basic football skills in the DFC. By the age of 13, the most talented children move to the next stage — to the regional centres of the RFU,where they have more serious requirements. Here players prepare for a professional career and are in the field of view of the selection department of the RFU and coaches of youth and junior national teams.

Now the students of Neftekhimik FC youth sports school have every chance to move to the regional centres of the RFU and achieve high success in sports.

Record for ball juggling and a football match with stars

On the same day, another historic event took place in Nizhnekamsk — the grand opening of the renovated Neftekhimik FC football stadium. It was timed to Petrochemist's Day. The president of Tatarstan also attended the sports festival.

The ceremony was hosted by Channel One sports commentator Viktor Gusev and honoured artist of Tatarstan Elmira Kalimullina. Football stars also came to Nizhnekamsk: veterans of Moscow's Spartak and Nizhnekamsk's Neftekhimik. The guests appeared on the field wearing tubeteikas. The teams faced off in a friendly match.

“But before the match starts," Viktor Gusev addressed the audience, “we will witness a unique event. Now before your eyes, young football players together with the legends of the clubs Neftekhimik and Spartak will set a Russian record for simultaneous juggling of the ball.

At this time, 175 people were already standing on the field. The participants of the mass juggling of the ball were young football players, veterans of Spartak and Neftekhimik. After the starting whistle, the athletes started setting a new record.

“It happened! The Russian record has been set! Now this is history, the history of Neftekhimik stadium," Viktor Gusev shouted into the microphone.

The certificate of the Book of Records of Russia was awarded to Director General of Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC Ayrat Safin.

Then Elmira Kalimullina invited the president of Tatarstan to the field.

“It is important for us to observe such traditions. This is a completely new stadium: the reconstruction was made at the highest level. And the operation begins with such a serious friendly match that tells the history of football in our country, the history of football in Nizhnekamsk. In Nizhnekamsk, the two most important sports are football and hockey. And we can say to football fans: huge words of gratitude to TAIF Group, Timur Albertovich, who does a lot for football today. Not only for the football of Nizhnekamsk, but also for the republic," Rustam Minnikhanov said.

The head of Tatarstan also expressed gratitude from Russian Sports Minister Timur Shigabutdinov for his significant contribution to the development of the physical culture and sports industry.

At the request of the presenters, the president of Tatarstan and the heads of TAIF JSC and Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC signed the ball and passed it to the youngest participant from among those who set the Russian record.

“Let me congratulate you on a wonderful holiday, the second birth of Neftekhimik stadium. Physical education and sports, healthy lifestyle have become the norm for Nizhnekamsk residents. The construction of new sports facilities, the reconstruction of existing ones, all this is happening today as part of the support and implementation of regional and federal programmes with the support of our industrial enterprises. Now we are witnessing an important historical event for Nizhnekamsk: TAIF Group has realised the dream of the team and thousands of Nizhnekamsk football fans by reconstructing this wonderful stadium. Our younger generation of Nizhnekamsk residents is receiving a wonderful gift as part of the celebration of the centenary of the Tatar ASSR — the football arena on the territory of the youth sports school. All these changes are aimed at improving the quality of our life, and we want to express our gratitude from all Nizhnekamsk residents, say thank you to the president and TAIF Group for supporting Nizhnekamsk sports," said Mayor of Nizhnekamsk Aydar Metshin.

And then, at the symbolic suggestion of Rustam Minnikhanov, the match with the participation of famous athletes began. Spartak legend and former Russian national team coach Oleg Romantsev managed the team of veteran Muscovites. Together with him, on the field there were football stars: Vagiz Khidiyatullin, Yury Gavrilov, Yury Kovtun, Ventsislav Khristov, Valery Shmarov, Sergey Shavlo. Andrey Sitchikhin, a pupil of the club, became the captain of Neftekhimik veterans. Sergey Budylin, Ildar Akhmetzyanov and other athletes who passed through the Nizhnekamsk club also joined the team with him.

“This idea came to the heads of our football club. I think it's great. Spartak football club is a brand of Russian football. And they made such a grand celebration. We think it's great. We, veterans, hardly prepared for the match, but everyone runs and trains somewhere. We didn't develop tactics. We played on this field 27 years ago. I feel pleasure and in a good way I envy today's players who play in such a beautiful stadium, I envy the fans who can watch football in such conditions, regardless of any weather, sun or rain. The city deserved such a stadium. Everything is thought out here for fans and football players," Andrey Sitchikhin, the captain of Neftekhimik team, shared his impressions.

“I've always liked this city. It does not so much grow up, but so, neatly spreads. We haven't had time to look at it more thoroughly yet, but I have the best impressions about it, even though it's been many years. People are very good, friendly. It was as if we were playing here at home, a lot of people were rooting for us, for which we thank them very much," Spartak legend and former Russian national team coach Oleg Romantsev confessed his old love for Nizhnekamsk.

Due to the fact that the arena could not admit everyone, they organised fan zones connected by a teleconference. Each of them had concert venues, popular music groups, DJs, and a football freestyle. The atmosphere of the holiday was also created by stilt walkers and animators in stylised images. There were tents with a cyber zone, photo booth, GIF stand, Sony PlayStation consoles, and barber fan.

In the lounge area, Nizhnekamsk residents played table football, assemled giant constructor LEGO. Guests enjoyed interactive mini-games: football Angry Birds, bull riding, pedal cars and much more.

400 million rubles for reconstruction

The home arena of Neftekhimik FC was built in 1978 and long required major repairs. It started last June. The large-scale reconstruction was carried out by Nizhnekamskneftekhim. The company invested more than 400 million rubles in the modernisation of the sports complex. The club, which plays in the second most important league of Russian football — FNL, received one of the best fields in Russia, which was confirmed by the specialists of the Russian Football Union (the field meets the requirements of the regulations of the FNL division I).

New stands with a canopy, changing rooms for players and coaches, high-quality lighting and modern security systems were installed here. Comfortable seats, equipped fan and food zones, and a convenient parking lot were built for fans.

Special attention should be paid to the football field. It is built using Dutch technology with heating, automatic irrigation. The tableau has also changed, the light has improved, and powerful lamps of 1,200 Lux have appeared.

From now on, people with disabilities will have the opportunity to attend sports events. For their convenience, there are 50 seats with a special entrance to them. The capacity of the sports complex will remain at the same level. The end stands are moved closer to the edge of the field. And, most importantly, “canopies” have been installed around the perimeter of the field, under which fans can take shelter in the rain, heat and strong winds. The repairs were also made in ticket offices, passageways, domestic premises, and bathrooms. The capital construction works were carried out Kapital-Stroy group of companies.

Neftekhimik stadium is planned to regularly host games with the participation of titled football teams and a large number of fans, as well as large sports competitions and mass cultural events.

This is not the end of the series of events in Nizhnekamsk. Rustam Minnikhanov also opened the new kindergarten No. 89, inspected the Tufan Minullin Nizhnekamsk Drama Theatre after major repairs and the progress of work under Our Yard programme.

By Lilia Yegorova