Rustam Minnikhanov: ‘I would like to thank TAIF Group for such projects. It is 11,3bn rubles of investments!’

On Chemist’s Day, Nizhnekamskneftekhim launched two new plants at once — SSBR and SBS

The production of new types of commodities — solution-polymerised styrene-butadiene rubber (SSBR) with a capacity of 60,000 a year and styrene-butadiene-styrene (SBS) — was put into operation at Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC in Nizhnekamsk. The launching ceremony took place on the republican Chemist’s Day with Tatarstan President Rustam Minnikhanov. Read more in Realnoe Vremya’s report.

60,000 tonnes a year of production capacity

Tatarstan President Rustam Minnikhanov and Board Chairman of SIBUR Holding PJSC Dmitry Konov arrived to congratulate workers of the chemical and petrochemical industry on the professional holiday. Together with the management of TAIF Group, the guests visited one of Europe’s largest petrochemical enterprises — Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC.

The solemn opening of the production of new goods took place here — solution-polymerised styrene-butadiene rubber (SSBR) with a capacity of 60,000 a year and styrene-butadiene-styrene (SBS). Before the launching ceremony, Rustam Minnikhanov looked over the operator’s shop, talked with the company’s workers, thanked them for their labour. After that, he pushed a symbol button to put the SSBR and SBS plants into operation.

“We arrived in Nizhnekamsk according to a good tradition on the eve of Chemist’s Day and open modern plants. Nizhnekamsk is the chemical capital of our republic. Today we are opening the styrene-butadiene rubber production. It is a modern-day enterprise that all car tyre manufacturers need. This facility became a reality thanks to Nizhnekamskneftekhim’s research potential and possibilities. I would like to thank TAIF Group for such projects. It is 11,3 billion rubles of investments! It is a profitable and good product. I would also like to congratulate you on Chemist’s Day, wish you successes, health. Now vaccination is under way, take care of yourself and your relatives, COVID-19 will let nobody pass by. Congratulations!” Tatarstan President Rustam Minnikhanov said.

As TAIF JSC Director General, Board Chairman of Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC Ruslan Shigabutdinov noted, it is the latest functionalised fifth-generation rubber with exclusive operational properties. It is one of the key elements of the world’s green economy in car tyres.

“Dear Mr Minnikhanov, dear friends. On behalf of the Board of Directors and our shareholders’ instructions, with a huge sense of pride for the work done I congratulate all our staff of thousands of petrochemists on the solemn launch of the new SSBR plant. With the beginning of the production of this high-tech commodity, Nizhnekamskneftekhim has made a step ahead in modern synthetic materials demonstrating the high professionalism of the petrochemical staff of Tatarstan to the whole world. After starting the implementation of the project in 2019, we felt all the joy and happiness of the COVID-19 year in spades, but at the same time, we showed our unbending petrochemical character. The well-oiled work of the whole staff and management of Nizhnekamskneftekhim allowed quickly implementing this innovative project on time. With the launch of this facility, we certainly become a rubber supermarket, even a hypermarket. Nizhnekamskneftekhim becomes an enterprise that produces almost the whole range of all rubber types precisely here in Nizhnekamsk, in Tatarstan.

Dear Mr Minnikhanov, on this festive day, please accept words of great gratitude and acknowledgement for your constant attention to petrochemistry, unfailing support for the projects we implement and promising plans on behalf of the whole staff of thousands of workers, the management, the Board of Directors and shareholders.

Dear friends and colleagues, I sincerely congratulate all of us on this great day of the launch of the new plant that will make new modern rubber,” Ruslan Shigabutdinov solemnly congratulated.

According to Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC Director General Ayrat Safin, the construction of the plant kept to schedule and the budget.

“Many thanks to our constructors as well as petrochemists who participated in the creation of documentation, the construction, start-up and commissioning. Thanks to your dedication, professionalism, we have this product. We got a new type of rubber for Nizhnekamskneftekhim. Today our assortment includes the biggest possible number of rubber types. Almost nobody has it around the world. We have produced the fifth-generation rubber! All global companies work with us, sign contracts for five years. This talks about our stability. Many thanks to everybody. Congratulations on the professional holiday,” Ayrat Safin said during the launching ceremony of the SSBR plant.

Strategic project for the company

The SSBR production is a strategic project of the company. Its construction began in 2019. The active phase of the project overlapped with the imposition of strict restrictive measures due to the coronavirus pandemic. Nevertheless, all construction works were done fully.

Solution-polymerised styrene-butadiene rubber the petrochemists have produced has attractive features for tyre producers. The application of SSBR in tyre production allow expanding its service, a better grip with the wet, icy road and saving fuel. SSBR can also be used in the production of numerous rubber goods.

Styrene-butadiene styrene (SBS) is another new type of polymer that was made in this plant.

This product is used as an additive to asphalt concrete surface and roofing materials. High compatibility with road and roofing bitumen, the optimal balance between durability and elasticity as well as the possibility of multiple recycling without losing qualitative characteristics. The prime cost of asphalt concrete surface with thermoplastic elastomer increases by 1%, while the durability of the asphalt doubles.

State-of-the-art technologies complying with international industrial and environmental safety standards were used in the construction of the new plant. A modern purifier of air emissions at the rubber recovery stage is utilised in the new production unit — this additional measure permits preventing contaminating substances from ending up in the atmosphere.

Key sector to ramp up investments

After the solemn launch, Dmitry Konov, board chairman of SIBUR Holding PJSC, answered journalists’ question about the elaboration of mechanisms to compensate for investments in new petrochemical projects.

“The work is in the pipeline, there are mechanisms that came into force. TAIF and SIBUR are preparing to sign an agreement on reverse excise on capacity modernisation, an agreement on the compensation for investments, and there is a separate regulating mechanism for rubbers, which is especially important for Nizhnekamskneftekhim. I am sure the more projects, the bigger support. I understand that TAIF has a lot of projects of this kind, and programmes will be fulfilled because the country obviously sets a goal of ramping up investments in production, modernisation, exports. In this aspect, petrochemistry is a key sector,” Dmitry Konov, board chairman of SIBUR Holding PJSC, answered.

Own antiseptic and reverse vending machines for plastic waste collection

Rustam Minnikhanov awarded four Nizhnekamskneftekhim workers letters of commendation and medals for their contribution, labour, patients and the colossal responsibility they had demonstrated during the creation of the innovative eco-friendly synthetic rubber production. Lyudmila Andrianova, Alexander Ignatyev, Anatoly Poretskov and Vladimir Shushkov received the president’s gratitude.

On the industrial site, the guests were also shown samples of the antiseptic developed by specialists of Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC. Now it is actively used for the company’s own needs. Also, the delegation watched a reverse vending machine designed to dispose of plastic waste operate. The SSBR production became one of the first sites to have such equipment installed. In the future, the machines will appear in other subdivision of the company too.

Ayrat Safin also told the president that such reverse vending machines had been installed in several schools of the city. Schoolchildren inserted plastic bottles and aluminium cans into the device. In reply, the reverse vending machine gave a special coupon in which it thanked for protecting nature in large print and showed how many points were granted for using the device. The machine grants 1 point for a plastic bottle and 2 points for an aluminium can. The classes that scored the biggest number of points received prizes from the petrochemists.

“We visited the schools yesterday and exchanged the coupons for tickets to the cinema. In the future, we will refuse the paper, we will have a mobile app, it can be used for payments,” noted Safin.

“A smart machine,” Rustam Minnikhanov commented on the performance of the reverse vending machine.

The goal of Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC’s environmental campaign is to teach the younger generation to sort waste out and recycle it saving the planet from the pollution with household waste from a young age.

The official part of the celebration of Chemist’s Day went on at Neftekhim Arena Ice Palace where Rustam Minnikhanov awarded the best workers of the chemical sector, including Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC, the honourary title Honourable Chemist of the Republic of Tatarstan.

By Lilia Yegorova. Photo: Roman Khasayev