Ayrat Safin on EP-600’s launch: ‘It is necessary to understand the economy of the country by building new factories’
The construction of Nizhnekamskneftekhim’s ethylene facility is in full swing: the total progress of the project’s works is 34%
Republican and urban journalists had a unique chance of seeing the course of the construction of one of Tatarstan’s largest industrial construction sites first-hand — Nizhnekamskneftekhim’s new EP-600 plant. It is one of the company’s major strategic projects. The launch of the project will allow significantly expanding Russian ethylene production capacities to meet growing domestic demand and reducing imports of derivatives. Read in Realnoe Vremya’s report who was entrusted with implementing an investment project that’s important for the republic and the country in general and what stage the construction works are at.
Employment of 2,500 people, assembly of 425 pieces of equipment
22 June 2020 is a date that became history for Nizhnekamskneftekhim forever. The assembly of the first large equipment — 640-tonne and 78-metre high primary fractionating column — started on the construction site of the new EP-600. It was assembled literally at an empty field. A bit more than a year later, the picture here is completely different where the would-be ethylene plant is outlined. The construction of the plant is in full swing: the total progress of the project’s works is 34%.
During the press tour, journalists were taken on an excursion to the new plant and told about the specifics of the project. Despite the existing difficulties related to the spread of COVID-19 and logistic troubles, the Nizhnekamskneftekhim team took necessary and sufficient measures that allow keeping to the project’s schedule.
Nowadays, 2,500 workers are working on the construction site, 425 pieces of equipment have been assembled, nearly 100,000 cubic metres of concrete frames and 26,000 tonnes of ironworks. 19,800 metres of internal networks, 41,000 tonnes of pipelines, 56 km of cable trays have been laid, foundation pits finished to be dug, the erection of non-production buildings — three substations and an operator’s room — is coming to an end.
Director of EP-600 Plant Lenar Nigmatullin noted the meaning of the project. According to him, the construction of the olefin complex is included to Russia’s long-term chemical and petrochemical development strategy through 2030, Tatarstan’s socio-economic development strategy through 2030, a list of priority investment projects of Volga Federal District and Tatarstan’s investment memorandum.
“As it is known, ethylene is a basic monomer of all petrochemistry. It is used to make polyethylene, polyvinylchloride, polyethylenterephthalat and polystyrene. These materials are necessary to make ready products: pipes, insulation wires and cables, goods for the automotive and aviation industry, household and medical commodities,” Lenar Nagimullin stressed.
The new plant will allow processing 1,800,000 tonnes of straight-run gasoline a year to produce 600,000 tonnes of ethylene and such target products as propylene (273,000 tonnes), benzene (249,000 tonnes) and butadiene (88,000 tonnes).
Ultimate protection measures from coronavirus
During the excursion, the journalists were reminded that the olefin complex construction project was implemented within a memorandum of understanding between TAIF Group and Germany’s Linde AG signed at Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum in June 2017.
Also in June, Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC and Linde Engineering subdivision signed a basic agreement on engineering, delivery of equipment and services to launch the first line of the future plant. A contract on construction and assembly works was signed between Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC and Gemont for the project EP-600 Olefin Complex Construction at the headquarters of TAIF JSC in February 2020.
The Turkish company was chosen after two stages of a tender: it had the best offer from both a technical and economic perspective.
“Gemont operates in several countries of the world. In Russia, it has been since 2014. Both employees of our company and 18 companies of the Republic of Tatarstan are working in the complex that is constructed. The number of the staff on the construction site varies depending on works. While the amount of works is huge: from concrete to cable laying,” head of the project Yaşar Kandemir told journalists in an interview.
16 factories of Tatarstan received orders to make and deliver 33,000 tonnes of ironworks. Also, 14 Russian factories provide the complex with ironworks.
To prevent the spread of the coronavirus infection among the staff, the management of Gemont takes the ultimate prevention measures. When a worker is hired, he has to do a test for coronavirus. Also, recently arrived specialists are put in quarantine in a deliberately built building designed for 500 people. Workers with symptoms of coronavirus or acute viral infections are also placed there.
The employees measure the body temperature three times a day. An ambulance brigade is 24/7 on duty on the construction site. “Vaccination is voluntary. Everybody can receive a vaccine against coronavirus and protect himself,” noted head of the project Yaşar Kandemir.
The workers of the Turkish company live in a camp in as comfortable conditions as possible. Big, cheerful buildings, WC, shower rooms, prayer rooms, laundry, canteens and cafe were built here. There is a medical station, two leisure rooms, a small store and canteen. A private security company takes cares of security.
“The entrance and exit at the camp is registered by an automatic security system. 15 three-storeyed buildings will be built till the end of the year, 10 have already been erected and housed. People of different nations and from different countries live here. The workers go to Nizhnekamsk to go shopping or visit a bank for some time twice a week. Rules for alcoholic beverages are very strict. Our workers do extremely difficult jobs. It is even prohibited to think about alcohol,” head of the project at Gemont Yaşar Kandemir noted.
According to him, about 7,000 people will be employed on the site at the peak of construction and assembly works. Every worker undergoes a strict professional selection process. In particular, a Gemont work must have work experience in industrial facilities, certificates and documents proving the high qualification.
“I am 50, I have been doing this job for over 20 years. In the last seven years, I have worked at Gemont. I participated in the construction of a lot of industrial facilities, including the Heavy Residues High Conversion Complex at TAIF-NK. We are assembling pyrolysis furnaces in the EP-600. My brigade consists of 35 people. Despite the difficulties because of the coronavirus pandemic, we didn’t have any problems. We are working according to schedule, the construction of the furnaces will end by the end of the year,” said Bünyamin Sakar, foreman and constructor of Gemont.
Special attention at Gemont is paid to process safety rules.
“We consider that the most important thing is that the staff complies with occupation safety rules. Gemont has an occupational safety department. We are also supervised by Nizhnekamskneftekhim’s occupational safety department. Managers of the departments of both companies constantly oversee the works. A multi-step control system allowed organising the work as safe as possible,” noted specialist in occupational and process safety at Gemont Emil Nuriakhmetov.
Also, Gemont has its own production site where pipe spools for the new EP-600 new olefin complex are manufactures. It significantly accelerates the assembly of pipelines. The specialists of the company strictly control the quality of production. Only after a thorough double control over welding seams, the pipe spools are sent to the construction site for further assembly.
Strict quality control of works
The control on the construction site itself is no less strict. Several organisations — Gemont’s workers themselves, Nizhnekamskneftekhim and three independent laboratories, Russia’s industrial safety watchdog and the project’s engineer Germany’s Linde — oversee the quality of construction and assembly works.
“We do construction and assembly works in complete compliance with the project documentation. Nizhnekamskneftekhim has its own supervisory body, an agreement with the Main State Inspection Office whose workers accompany the project was additionally signed. The industrial safety watchdog carries out scheduled inspections. In any case, before the olefin complex is launched, it will be necessary to obtain a compliance report,” Director General of Nizhnekamskneftekhim Ayrat Safin stressed during the press conference.
Director General of Gemont Muhittin Aktaş also was at the meeting with the journalists. He told the mass media about the work experience in Tatarstan where his company is registered. Its taxes are paid to the republican budget. According to him, the company has implemented 146 projects in different countries, the scale of 11 of them can be compared the EP-600.
The giant ethylene complex in Nizhnekamsk is the 12th in the company’s portfolio. The director general of Gemont noted the high qualification of the company’s workers and their job selection criteria. He also explained in detail about the measures taken to provide process safety and the prevention measures to halt the spread of the coronavirus infection. Muhittin Aktaş focused on the fact that Gemont managed to provide uninterrupted implementation of the project during the global lockdown in 2020 precisely in the Republic of Tatarstan and does its best to speed up the construction of the new ethylene complex in Nizhnekamsk.
The journalists asked what the latest solutions aimed at higher efficacy, energy efficiency and process safety would be used in the complex. Special attention was paid to environmental protection. So more than 70,000 alarms and block systems are envisaged to prevent emergencies. Continuous emission monitoring systems providing online control and sending data to control stations and supervisory agencies are designed at pollution sources.
To reduce nitrogen oxide, there will be used modern effective burners with two combustion zones, while effective decoking cyclones will help to prevent suspended particles and coke from ending up in the atmosphere. The complex will include local treatment facilities that will provide zero industrial sewage consumption. Also, after treatment, water returns to the process, thus providing a fall in water consumption from the Kama River.
After the complex is put into operation, 630 jobs will be created. Graduates of local colleges and universities will have a chance of working in the modern and safe pant. Taxes paid to the budget of the republic and the city will rise too.
“This year when Mr Minnikhanov was in Nizhnekamsk, he said that our city is the growth point of Tatarstan’s economy. The largest investment projects that will make a huge contribution to the development of the republic and the country will be implemented here. The development programme of Nizhnekamskneftekhim is designed through 2030, after the launch of projects from 2023 to 2025 and later. We calculated that taxes paid to the budgets of the city, the republic and the country will considerably increase,” noted Ayrat Safin.
He also paid attention to the importance of finishing the project on time.
“Any deviation from the schedule is minus 500 million taxes a month. A school or kindergarten can be built with this money. As the key income source of the budget of the Republic of Tatarstan, Nizhnekamskneftekhim pays special attention to it. The development of the republic will depend on our activity. Gemont, Linde and Nizhnekamskneftekhim are putting every effort to launch the complex on time,” Ayrat Safin concluded.
He emphasised that now Russia’s share in ethylene production is just 2% of the world’s production. With this indicator, the country ranks 11th. Moreover, ethylene is the core product of petrochemical synthesis.
“Why are petrochemicals necessary? It is a downstream product, it is added value. It is necessary to understand the economy of the country by building new factories,” Ayrat Safin is convinced.
The launch of the EP-600 will allow Nizhnekamskneftekhim to reinforce its positions in the domestic and foreign markets as a producer of a wide range of synthetic rubbers, transform into a large market player in Russia and CIS countries in the production of different plastic brands, which substitute imports too.
Summing up the press conference, Ayrat Safin said the construction of the EP-600 was keeping to schedule. The construction and assembly works will end in December 2022, while the first product is planned to be made in June 2023, which is important not only for the well-being of Nizhnekamsk, Tatarstan but also for all Russia.