Rustam Minnikhanov: ''We see Tatarstan as center of Russian petrochemical industry in the next 20-30 years''

Within the framework of the working visit to Munich, President of Tatarstan met with the leadership of long-time partner of TAIF Group and discussed possible joint projects in the Republic

Rustam Minnikhanov: ''We see Tatarstan as center of Russian petrochemical industry in the next 20-30 years'' Photo: Eduard Khairullin

TAIF leadership have introduced President of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov to its long-term partner in Munich – the German concern Linde, with which Tatarstan has had a long strong relationship. Within a two-day visit to the capital of Bavaria, the president visited the engineering center of the company, learned about new developments and personally talked to Director General of the concern Linde Aldo Belloni. The meeting of Rustam Minnikhanov with Minister President of Bavaria Horst Seehofer has become significant, it was held behind closed doors. The correspondent of Realnoe Vremya followed the development of relations between the two partners and found out what other projects at the suggestion of the president of the Republic of Tatarstan can be implemented in the Republic.

Rustam Minnikhanov visits the enterprise of TAIF's German partner

President of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov, Director General of TAIF PSC Albert Shigabutdinov and the leadership of the company visited Munich in the framework of the working visit on May 4-5. The schedule included a visit to the German company Linde, meeting with Chairman of the Board of Directors, Director General of Linde Professor Aldo Belloni and joint visit to Minister President of Bavaria Horst Seehofer.

Such representative delegation arrived in Munich for a reason. The concern Linde is a long-standing partner of the group of companies TAIF and is known in the Republic for the construction of several major industrial objects for the Tatarstan holding. In particular, the developments of the German company can be found at Kazanorgsintez, for which it provided the construction of the pyrolysis furnace processing propane-butane fraction, as well as at Nizhnekamskneftekhim, where when modernizing the production of linear alpha-olefins there have been introduced α-SABLIN® technology. The technology allows to obtain predominantly sought-after light grades of linear alpha-olefins. The constructed LAO plant in Nizhnekamsk is the second plant in the world by α-SABLIN® technology. The first was built in Saudi Arabia in 2006. Besides, the work is continuing on another ambitious object in conjunction with Linde — the commissioning of the hydrogen plant for the heavy residues conversion complex at TAIF-NK.

The meeting of TAIF with Linde in Munich became the second in a few months. This time the German company invited Tatarstan delegation in one of their divisions — engineering center, which presented the new development. President of the Republic and the management of TAIF group of companies introduced the technology of 3D-modeling on the example of construction of installation of separation and purification of natural gas and helium liquefier for the Amur gas processing plant Gazprom. Rustam Minnikhanov was suggeted to test the technology, he put up virtual reality glasses and was given a special remote. It can be used to navigate through the virtual model of the plant.

Deputy Director General of TAIF PSC for management and strategic development of the group Nizhnekamskneftekhim Vladimir Busygin has also experienced the new technology. The three-dimensional model of the plant allows to see how the plant under construction will look, to be inside it and see all the small technical details. Besides, it allows to design possible emergency situations and, without departing from the monitor, to calculate ways of their solutions. The technology is used in designing the plant and it will also be involved in further training of operators.

After the presentation of 3D-modeling technology, the delegation was presented another development of the company — vehicles using hydrogen fuel

Fuel from the air with an eye to the future

After the presentation of 3D-modeling technology, the delegation was presented another development of the company — vehicles using hydrogen fuel. Rustam Minnikhanov and Albert Shigabutdinov personally took the wheel to test the new product. Among the inherent advantages of the development — efficiency and environmental friendliness. One kg of hydrogen is sufficient for 100 kilometers of way, and due to new technology it is possible to minimize the mechanical losses and to solve the problem with the release of hazardous waste. The engine using hydrogen has the capacity of 150 horsepower. Hydrogen is stored in the tank under the pressure of 700 atmospheres and thence supplied to the chemical reactor, where electricity is produced.

The advantages of such vehicle are not limited to cost-effectiveness and environmental friendliness — the engine has two power sources: in addition to the tank with hydrogen there is the battery used with a small mileage of a car. There are also difficulties when implementing, they are primarily associated with the lack of infrastructure and, as a consequence, the high cost of fuel. At that moment, 5 kg of hydrogen cost 75 euros.

''This technology is breakthrough, but at that moment there are problems with infrastructure — not enough filling stations,'' says development manager for hydrogen technologies development at Linde Engineering Thomas Schiffer. However, the expert is sure that the future belongs to this technology.

The engine has two power sources: in addition to the tank with hydrogen there is the battery used with a small mileage of a car

In order to promote the harmless and more economical transport among the local population, Linde Engineering has created a special app for phone, with the help of which a hydrogen car can be rented and tested. Today among automotive manufacturers this technology is used by Toyоta, Honda and Hyundai.

The third item was a visit to a test facility with laboratory and pilot semi-industrial plant for testing a new catalyst for synthesis gas. Thus, before implementing the development directly in production, the experts of Linde Engineering test it on a small copy of the plant.

Tatarstan as one of the sites for Linde development

Later, the leadership of the concern Linde, the leadership of Tatarstan and TAIF Group of companies had a dialogue in the headquarters of the concern Linde. The delegation surrounded by top managers of Linde was accepted personally by new CEO Aldo Belloni, who was succeeded by Mr. Wolfgang Büchele.

Aldo Belloni started the meeting with a presentation of the main indicators of the company. So, the turnover of Linde Engineering is 2-2,5 billion euros a year. The turnover of Linde Gas is 15 billion euros a year. In the engineering division there work 6 to 7 thousand specialists, in the division of industrial gases — up to 60 thousand people.

The leadership of the concern Linde, the leadership of Tatarstan and TAIF Group of companies had a dialogue in the headquarters of the concern Linde

''Our centers with experts in engineering are mainly concentrated in Germany, Asia and China. As for our division on industrial gases — the company's branches are scattered around the world, including Russia,'' said Mr. Belloni. There are 75 branches of Linde Gas in large countries. But if to consider small states, their number increases up to 320.

The company pays great value to its development, that is why, for example, to the division for industrial gases they annually invest 10-13% of sales revenues.

''Currently we invest about 2 billion euros in the business for gas. We are owners and operators of hundreds of units for separation of gas and about a hundred installations for carbon dioxide. Here in Munich, we develop the best operating methods for these plants,'' said Director General of the company.

Linde has nine remote operating centres worldwide, where engineers provide support and maintenance over hundreds of plants. For example, from the center in the Eastern part of Germany they operate more than 50 plants located in the Netherlands, Austria, Italy.

Tatarstan's President Rustam Minnikhanov became interested in the theme of operational centers, he immediately got down to business by proposing to a long-term partner of TAIF Group to consider the possibility of establishing such center in Tatarstan. The president noted that the cost of creating a center in the country will be much lower than, for example, in the Czech Republic.

Mr. Belloni noted that they are now in search of new budget platforms for their operational centers. The best place to locate a center he called the territories where there are already working Linde plants. In Tatarstan, the plants of the German companies operate on the basis of Nizhnekamskneftekhim and Kazanorgsintez, there is also a plant at TAIF-NK.

A prerequisite for localization of the concern he called its activity in Tatarstan as the gas company. According to Mr. Belloni, during the previous visit to Munich of Director General of TAIF PSC Albert Shigaboutdinov it became known of the idea to create in Tatarstan a pipeline network that will connect all the resources of the Republic. The speaker noted that this network could form a ''core'' for operating center.

''We should move toward a strategic partnership, not in the direction of single transactions,'' said Rustam Minnikhanov

President of Tatarstan in addition to a localization suggested to organise a training of professional specialists on the basis of the Kazan Technological University jointly with Linde and to open a number of joint laboratories on the basis of educational institutions.

''Our paths are similar. You work in the segment of petrochemistry and gas, and we see ourselves as the center of petrochemical industry of Russia in the next 20-30 years. We have a good industrial base, resource base, the educational base, which needs to be adapted to new challenges. It would be great if you considered the possibility of establishing a joint research centre on the basis of TAIF company. We should move toward a strategic partnership, not in the direction of single transactions,'' said Rustam Minnikhanov.

Tatarstan President offered the leadership of Linde to consider localization of the manufacture of certain equipment at the enterprises machine engineering complex of the Republic.

Tatarstan President offered the leadership of Linde to consider localization of the manufacture of equipment at the enterprises of the Republic

''We fully share our views on long-term cooperation and, in fact, I'd like to say that we are sufficiently represented on the Russian market: in our ownership and operation we have plants located in Togliatti, Saint-Petersburg and Kaluga,'' responded to the president's proposal Professor Aldo Belloni.

Besides, he reiterated the company's intention to acquire its hydrogen unit being under construction at TAIF-NK. The discussion of possible acquisition of the plant, according to Mr. Belloni, will continue. However, even in the framework of the previous visit to Munich in early April, Director General of TAIF said that the company is ready to sell the hydrogen plant to the licensor after 1-1.5 years of successful operation and begin to use it under the terms of the contract long-term lease.

With the support of Linde to other major partners

Another major project of TAIF, in the tender for the first phase of which the company Linde also participates, is the construction of the ethylene complex at Nizhnekamskneftekhim. The complex will produce various raw material products suitable for further processing. So, after processing of ethylene it is possible to obtain benzene, which is necessary for the production of isocyanates. They can be further applied for the production of flexible polyurethane foams and rigid polyurethane foams. The first is used for production of foam, seats, mattresses, varnishes, coatings, sealants and adhesives. The second is used in building insulation, refrigeration and pipe insulation.

TAIF at the previous meeting in Munich addressed to Linde with a request to mediate in negotiations with the big players on the start of production of isocyanates. At the meeting, Director General of Linde announced that they had discussed the issue with German concern Evonik, to the board of which he will join in two weeks.

''And we know that you would like to expand the number of petrochemical plants in the part of processing. It was also discussed with Evonik, the company with a very good reputation,'' said Director General Director of Linde concern.

TAIF's interest for further processing is due to the fact that in addition to 600 thousand tonnes per year of ethylene at the first stage of the olefin complex it is planned the production of 270 thousand tonnes per year of propylene, 248 thousand tonnes per year of benzene, 89 thousand tonnes per year of butadiene and other intermediates, which need to be translated into high-margin products. Director General of Linde concern said that he had received from the company the affirmative response, and the representatives of Linde organize a meeting between TAIF and Evonik in order to discuss the technologies owned by this company. According to Mr. Belloni, after joining the board of Evonik company, he will have an opportunity to support this initiative.

As for the issue of further participation of Linde concern in the construction of the ethylene complex at Nizhnekamskneftekhim, the parties have decided that the final agreement will be reached at St. Petersburg international economic forum, which takes place on June 1-3.

By Mariya Gorozhaninova. Photo: Eduard Khairullin
Reference

Linde company, established in 1878, consists of three divisions: Linde Gases and Linde Engineering (two core divisions) and other activities (logistics company Gist). The largest division, Gases, has three segments: EMEA (Europe,Middle East and Africa), Asia/Pacific and the Americas. These segments are further subdivided into nine Regional Business Units (RBUs). In addition, Linde has established five Global Governance Centres (GGCs) for the Gases Division which are centrally managed and operate across the regions: GGC Merchant & Packaged Gases (liquefied gases and cylinder gas), GGC Electronics (electronic gases), GGC Healthcare, GGC Operations and GGC Deliver. The Group has also set up the Group-wide function Opportunity & Project Development in order to take better advantage of business opportunities.

The Linde group has a leading position in developing technologies with the possibility of implementing EPC projects. It gives an advantage over the other gas companies. Engineering developments with ownership right and own experience of operation of Linde are used for the design of reliable systems. Symbiosis in both directions: Linde Gases is the biggest customer of Linde Engineering.

Professor Dr Aldo Belloni, born 1950 in Milano, Italy

Professional Experience:

  • since 1980 — Linde AG, Munich
  • since 8.12.2016 — CEO, Employment Director

Responsible for the Americas segment of the Gases Division, the Global Governance Centre Healthcare as well as for Gist, Opportunity & Project Development and the Corporate & Support Functions Corporate Communications & Investor Relations, Corporate Internal Audit, Corporate Office, Corporate Strategy & Market Intelligence, Group Human Resources, Group Information Services, Group Legal & Compliance, Group Mergers & Acquisitions, SHEQ [Safety, Health, Environment & Quality]

  • 2000 — 2014 — Member of the Executive Board
  • 1994 — Member of Executive Management, Linde Engineering Division
  • 1990 — President of Lotepro Corp., Valhalla, NY, USA
  • 1986 — Departement Manager group gas segmentation and -washing
  • 1980 — Joined Linde AG, Engineering Division, Sales Engineer gas constructions
  • 1976 — 1980 — Process Engineer, Krebs & Co. GmbH, Berlin, Germany
  • 1974 — 1976 — Process Engineer, Oxon Italia SpA, Milan, Italy Education
  • 2011 — Honorary Professor, Low Temperature Process Engineering, TU Dresden
  • 1973 — Doctorate — Chemical Engineering (Dr.-Ing.)
  • 1968 — 1973 — Doctoral studies, Milan Polytechnic Institute Field of Study: Engineering Sciences and Chemistry
  • 1968 — Baccalaureate Mr Belloni is not a member of any other statutory supervisory boards or comparable German or foreign supervisory bodies.

Education

  • 2011 Honorary Professor, Low Temperature Process Engineering, TU Dresden
  • 1973 Doctorate — Chemical Engineering (Dr.-Ing.)
  • 1968 — 1973 Doctoral studies, Milan Polytechnic Institute Field of Study: Engineering Sciences and Chemistry
  • 1968 Baccalaureate

Mr Belloni is not a member of any other statutory supervisory boards or comparable German or foreign supervisory bodies.