Breathe deeply: Nizhnekamskneftekhim increases oxygen output at Tatarstan Health Care Ministry’s request

Russian COVID-19 hospitals are falling short of medical oxygen to treat critical patients. 20 regions of the country have had supply problems. This has happened even though oxygen production in Russia has increased by 40% this year compared to 2019. The situation in Tatarstan is under control. The Ministry of Health Care claims that health care establishments are provided with oxygen reserves and medicines. Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC, which is a part of TAIF GC, is providing republican hospitals with the vital gas. At the request of the Tatarstan Health Care Ministry, the company has augmented the production of liquid oxygen that its partners later make it meet medical standards and send to intensive care units. Read more in Realnoe Vremya’s report.

“Hunger for oxygen” hits regions

Alarming messages about a shortage of gas in hospitals are more often coming from different corners of Russia. The “hunger for oxygen” has broken out in Moscow, Tver, Kaluga, Omsk and Tyumen Oblasts as well as Chuvashia, Khabarovsk, Krasnoyarsk Krai and other regions.

Tatarstan isn’t on the list. The hospitals for infectious diseases have a necessary reserve of oxygen. Petrochemical moguls of the republic, particularly Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC, helped to create it. The company has again responded to doctors’ request for help and provide them with the feedstock — liquid oxygen that is transformed into medical oxygen by its partner and sent to hospitals.

Liquid oxygen is made at Nitrogen and Oxygen Station of Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC, which is a part of Oligomers and Glycols Plant. This year the station has turned 35 years. The industrial facility provides all subdivisions of the company with gases: nitrogen and liquid oxygen as well as compressed dry air.

“The liquid oxygen production technology is very responsible, demanding, specific. Liquid oxygen is produced as a result of air processing. From time to time, we pour it to a special tank via cryogenic pipelines,” says Ragil Girkhanov, director of the department at Shop No. 6708 at Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC.

No shipment in four years

During the coronavirus pandemic, the production of liquid oxygen has notably increased in Oligomers and Glycols Plant of Nizhnekamskneftekhim. First of all, because of its high demand in hospitals for infectious diseases. By the way, there was no shipment since 2016 — as there was no demand. As soon as a consumer appeared, shipments resumed within the shortest time possible.

“At this moment, from 25 to 39 tonnes of liquid oxygen is made. One or two cars are arriving every day. The shipments are performed nearly all day long,” Rail Girkhanov says.

A storage facility for liquid oxygen is designed for 700 cubic metres. Now the facility is 60% full. Ready-to-use liquid oxygen is sky-blue. After shipment, a partner makes liquid oxygen meet medical norms and sends it to the republic’s hospitals. Before this, oxygen is carefully examined.

“We are daily examining samples for both compliance and quality fixed by state standards. Firstly, we fill a flask with liquid oxygen, then we evaporate it through a coil condenser for one or two hours. Later, the substances we need condensate during the cooling process. So we determine the absence of mechanical impurities,” says Leysan Fattakhova, a quality engineer of Shop No. 6708 at Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC.

Petrochemists in fight against coronavirus

The new production plant provided by the Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC management is around 250-300 tonnes of liquid oxygen a month. If needed, the amount can go up. They have all the necessary resources for this, the petrochemists say. Last year, the Nitrogen and Oxygen Station underwent modernisation. The piping of one of the air separation units was replaced, which allowed improving the manufacturing process.

By the way, Nizhnekamskneftekhim employees joined the fight against the dangerous virus on the first days of the pandemic. At health workers’ request, the company purchased expensive equipment to treat COVID-19 patients, handed over tens of thousands of personal protective equipment to a hospital. In the last two years, the enterprise has helped Tatarstan health care establishments by allocating them 158 million rubles and 140 million to Nizhnekamsk establishments through sponsorship.

And now, thanks to its Nitrogen and Oxygen Station, the company helps solve the urgent all-Russian problem — the shortage of oxygen for coronavirus patients — giving everybody a chance to recover.

By Liliya Yegorova