TAIF Group: environmental care is a priority

TAIF Group annually invests billions of rubles in the implementation of environmental programmes

It is impossible to live in the modern world without petrochemical products. This is easily seen just after taking a look around. In fact, two out of every three objects surrounding each of us, completely or at least partially, consist of what was oil until recently: clothing, paint, food containers and bottles for feeding babies, car fuel, tires and trim of car interiors, computer and phone cases, insulation of wires that supply electricity to homes and apartments, pipes that supply water to homes, furniture, medical instruments and packaging... The list of examples is unending. The demands of society are constantly growing, and with them the volumes of production. At the same time, environmental requirements are being tightened. TAIF Group, without reminders from the state, has elevated the care for environment to the rank of priorities: the enterprises have adopted and regularly update their own environmental programmes with even more stringent requirements than adopted in Russia as a whole. About multibillion investments of TAIF in preservation of ecological balance and continuous work on reduction of technogenic loading on environment of the republic — read in the material of Realnoe Vremya.

Refining and petrochemistry: myths and reality

One of the main misconceptions of our time is the opinion that petrochemistry as a branch of the processing industry causes the greatest harm to the environment. In reality, the share of petrochemicals accounts for only about 2 per cent of the total negative impact on the environment. These figures are now known to every student if they listen carefully to the teacher in the classroom. Besides, the industry constantly strives to reduce this indicator.

It is clear that without oil refining and petrochemicals, the world would not have reached its current level of development. There would be no plastics, polyethylene, synthetic motor oils, gasoline and diesel fuel, conventional cars, aircraft, agricultural machinery. But the machines that could be created would have run on steam or electricity. But they would not be enough: the absence of synthetic rubbers with a shortage of natural, delivered by sailing ships or steamers from other continents, would make the rubber very expensive. Coal-fired and wood-fired power generation would be much less efficient than today's CHP plants and would not be able to cope with the needs dictated by the modern world. There would be no inexpensive synthetic varnishes and paints, habitual electronic devices, the precise medical equipment helping surgeons to perform the most difficult operations and computer equipment for scientists. Even ballpoint pens without plastics, from which the rods for pastes are made of. Wooden windows, wood and coal as fuel, wood and stone as the main building materials. To meet the needs of the growing population, the rate and scale of deforestation would have to be multiplied. The trees would not have had time to grow, and without them, the atmosphere would have been exhausted. The bare shores could not protect water bodies from drying up... The very fact of their existence and a huge palette of products that can replace natural materials, oil refining and petrochemistry perform the important environmental mission.

Tatarstan's eco leader

It is telling that the TAIF Group and its member companies are permanent winners of environmental competitions. High results are natural: for many years large-scale work on preservation of the environment has been conducted both at each enterprise part of TAIF structure, as well as in general in the interests of the republic and people living here. Last year, with the active participation of TAIF PSC and Kazanorgsintez PJSC, the hydrotechnical stage of restoration of the Lebyazhye lakes system was completed. The large-scale works started in 2014 with environmental surveys and continued in 2016 with cleaning and deepening of the lake beds, equipping their bottom with a special protective three-layer screen and filling with water. The programme, which has no analogues in the history of modern Russia, cost TAIF more than 250 million rubles and allowed, to the delight of many tourists, to increase the area of the water surface by 9 times (up to 36 hectares). This summer, the construction of the littoral zone has continued.

Another socially and environmentally significant project, jointly implemented by TAIF PSC and Kazanorgsintez PJSC — the construction of the underground parking for nearly a thousand cars under the square near Kazan National Cultural Centre (Kazan NCC). The downtown has become unloaded from chaotically parked cars, and the freed from equipment area and the slope leading to the Kazanka River have been landscaped. TAIF invested more than 123 million rubles in the reconstruction of the area. Today, the square and the slope are one of the favourite places of rest in the capital of Tatarstan. In 2019, it is planned to continue the work: the president of Tatarstan has proposed to turn the remaining unlandscaped site at the foot of the NCC into a square.

TAIF Group closely monitors the latest developments in the field of environmental protection. Last October, during the business forum Finnish Business goes Kazan 2018, the main office of the group was visited by a large delegation from Finland led by Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Mikko Hautala. The guests presented the developments in the field of industrial wastewater treatment. TAIF became interested in the innovation of Global EcoProcess. The technology of purification of industrial effluents allows to precipitate metals dissolved in liquid into an inert and safe precipitate, which in the future itself can become the raw material for the extraction of precious metals. Kierto company presented the technology of chemical waste treatment. TAIF petrochemical enterprises annually process more than 20 million tonnes of raw hydrocarbons. These processes use more than 130 million cubic metres of water.

“We are interested in know-how in the field of water purification. We are ready to buy and use them,” Albert Shigabutdinov, the director general of TAIF PSC, told the representatives of the Finnish business. He stressed that the group of companies spare no money on the implementation of environmental developments. And it's easy to believe in, considering the scale of annually implemented by environmental programmes by TAIF.

Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC: over 5 years, almost 22bn rubles have been invested in environmental and nature protection measures

From 2014 to 2018, Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC, one of the largest petrochemical companies in Europe, implemented almost 350 environmental measures. The total amount of investments in environmental measures and environmental programmes amounted to almost 22 billion rubles. Last year alone, investments in environmental protection measures amounted to 5,3 billion rubles. The leading manufacturer of synthetic rubbers in the world and plastics in Russia, producing 320 types of products needed worldwide, organizes the processes in the most effective and environmentally safe way. Since November 2003, Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC has introduced an environmental management system that meets the laws of Russia, Tatarstan and international standards ISO 14001. Starting from 2001, Nizhnekamskneftekhim has already implemented three environmental programmes, and in July 2014, the fourth, designed until 2020, was launched. Its cost is 7,2 billion rubles, its full implementation will seriously save natural resources and further reduce the burden on the environment.

The improvement of production technologies has already made it possible to reduce the formation of non-recyclable waste by 5,000 tonnes a year. The introduction at the plant of oligomers and glycols of the chemically contaminated condensate extraction scheme of the steam jet ejector installation has reduced annual waste by 7,5 tonnes. The replacement at 16 pumps of the same plant of the single mechanical seal by double ones reduced emissions into the atmosphere. The installation of new calorifier in the welding centre saves up to 160 Gcal of thermal energy a year. Another 7,826 Gcal a year are saved by the replacement of thermal insulation on the pipelines of heating water, condensate and steam pipelines of the power supply management.

The waste water of Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC is neutralized at its own treatment facilities. The reconstruction of biological treatment facilities has become one of the most ambitious measures in the field of environmental protection for petrochemists.

The biological treatment facilities of Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC, commissioned in 1966, are a strategically important industrial and environmental facility. 81% — is runoff from plants located at the industrial site, including Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC, TGC-16 JSC (CHPP 1), TAIF-NK PSC, Nizhnekamskshina PJSC, Nizhnekamsktekhuglerod JSC, SG-trans JSC, Prettl-NK PLC, Chelny-Broyler PLC, Industrial Park Pioner PLC, Nizhnekamsk Plant of Metal Constructions PLC, Nizhnekamskoye PATP-1 JSC, Nizhnekamskoye PATP PLC and others (in total about 60 companies and organizations). In addition to chemically contaminated effluents from the industrial site, municipal effluents come here from almost all urban apartments, organizations and enterprises, their share is 19%. They are formed from the population, from different organizations and businesses: gas stations, car washes, garage cooperatives, service stations, medical facilities, shopping centres, etc. The effluents from the enterprises located in the village of Stroiteley in the area of BSI are also drained in the city sewage. Since the city was originally built as an “annexe” to the plant, at the time it was decided to combine the treatment of industrial, municipal and municipal wastewater in one place, as it was economically and geographically profitable.

But not always and not all companies and enterprises connected to the general system of treatment facilities behave in good faith: periodically there is a discharge of aggressive effluents, which, entering the zone of intensive bio-treatment of concentrated effluents, destroy active sludge — the symbiotic complex, specially developed in the laboratory of wastewater of the scientific and technological centre of Nizhnekamskneftekhim, consisting of dozens of different bacteria and simple microorganisms capable of breaking down complex organic substances getting into the effluents to carbon dioxide and water. As a result, activated sludge can no longer cope with the processing of impurities, and the very unpleasant odour, on which the residents of Nizhnekamsk complain, appear.

Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC every time restores the efficiency of the system of biological treatment of municipal and industrial wastewater. What is more, at its own expense. But it always takes some time for the system to work right (Realnoe Vremya online newspaper is preparing to publish material about this problem).

Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC has been holding the entire system of treatment facilities on its balance sheet for more than half a century: it serves equipment, monitors the quality of treated wastewater. The maintenance of bio-treatment facilities alone annually costs 300 million rubles. In addition, the company invests greatly in modernization. Initially, the biological treatment plant’s (BOS) capacity allowed to treat only 56,000 cubic metres of wastewater a day. The expansion of the BOS continued until the mid-80s, and as a result, its capacity increased to 213,000 cubic metres a day. At the end of 2015, petrochemists started the large-scale reconstruction of treatment facilities to replace obsolete buildings and equipment, as well as to introduce even more modern technology for wastewater treatment, which ultimately is going to significantly improve the environmental situation in the city as a whole.

At the first stage of reconstruction, which was completed in 2016, the mechanical cleaning unit for household waste water, the bar screen building with a receiving chamber, aerated grit chambers, the mixer for household and chemical contaminated waste water, the pump building of mixer emptying, the electric cable bridge were newly built and equipped with modern equipment and Yatagans — the special units for neutralization of steam-gas mixtures — were installed. Smelling emissions are now collected and neutralized. The already implemented stages of improvement allowed to reduce the concentration of iron in wastewater by 19%, of aluminium — by 16%, sulphates — by 17%, phenols — by 35%, formaldehyde — by 52%, methanol — by 71%. The total volume of wastewater in 2018 was reduced by almost 2,5 million cubic metres a year.

Implementing the second stage of reconstruction of biological treatment facilities, Nizhnekamskneftekhim specialists selected a biofilter system for mechanical wastewater and air treatment unit, increasing its efficiency up to 95%. In 2019, it is planned to finish the construction of a new 15-kilometre off-site drainage collector with a cost of 1,2 billion rubles. Its introduction will increase the capacity of the wastewater transportation system.

The company allocated 518,57 million rubles for the first stage of reconstruction of biological treatment facilities. The second will require investments of about 1 billion rubles, including in 2019 — more than 400 million rubles, for the construction of a new off-site collector the company will allocate 1,2 billion rubles, and the total cost of modernization will be more than 3 billion rubles. Also, within the second stage, the reconstruction of the chemical laboratory of biological treatment facilities continues. Created back in the 1960s, today it is completely transformed: the appearance of the building has become modern. The optimum temperature conditions are maintained by air conditioners. The working rooms are equipped with high-precision equipment: Crystal Lux-4000 chromatograph has been launched, which determines the content of impurities in the effluent, the concentrator designed to determine the content of petroleum products in the water has been delivered, there have been installed drying cabinets, muffle furnace, pH analysers — that is, all that is necessary for a complete and qualitative analysis of the level of effluent contamination. Now, the commissioning and start-up works are underway at the BOS. The commissioning is to take place this summer.

An important acquisition of Nizhnekamskneftekhim in 2019 is a mobile ecopost for air pollution control. The special vehicle equipped with the necessary equipment — gas analyzers, chromatographs, dust analyzers, meteorological complex and the automated system for collecting and processing information — in any geographical point of the Nizhnekamsk district is ready to take the full ecological specimen of atmospheric air for two dozen key indicators. This is the first and so far the only such complex in Tatarstan.

A number of implemented innovations are aimed at preserving the environment:

— the introduction of a modern recycling water supply system has allowed the multiple use of purified water, significantly reducing the intake of fresh river water;

— commissioning of the hydrogen purification unit in the production of polyethylene has also significantly reduced its consumption;

— replacement of old pyrolysis furnaces with two new ones (SRT-VI type) increased the reliability of the furnace block and reduced emissions of flue gases into the atmosphere;

— the replacement of internal and installation of remote cyclones at the isoprene-monomer plant has reduced the consumption of catalysts. The formation of catalyst sludge has decreased by 350 tonnes a year, slime water — by 100 tonnes, and catalyst dust — by 30 tonnes;

— at the isoprene-monomer plant, in the production of isoprene, a sewage treatment plant was built and four boilers were replaced. The volume is reduced by 160,000 tonnes a year.

TAIF is building the most modern, perfect, reliable ethylene production in Tatarstan, which meets strict international environmental standards. Photo: Lina Sarimova

In June 2017, at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC and German Linde AG signed a license agreement and a contract for the design, supply of equipment and materials for the new ethylene complex for 600,000 tonnes of ethylene a year. It will be the first part of the most modern production in Russia for 1,2 million tonnes of ethylene per year and a number of plants for the production of modern polymers. In parallel, the work is underway on the contract signed between Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC and German Siemens: the construction of a 495 MW electric power plant, which will provide the ethylene complex with energy. In addition to high reliability in the selection of equipment for the future power plant, TAIF Group has focused on environmental friendliness. Basically, the fuel for the station will be previously flared or recycled by-products of the main technological processes of Nizhnekamskneftekhim, which will reduce the burden on the environment.

The care for the environment in TAIF Group is demonstrated in everything: for example, the reusable use of containers for the transportation of butadiene rubbers allowed the enterprises of Nizhnekamskneftekhim to reduce the formation of plastic waste by 200 tonnes a year. The use of reusable wood pallets to transport the black-extended concentrate saved from cutting down the whole grove. Besides, the employees of PJSC Nizhnekamskneftekhim are active participants in various environmental actions, including tree planting. In November 2018, the specialists of Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC released almost 9,000 young carps into the Kama River.

Kazanorgsintez PJSC — the process of improving the environmental situation is constant

The leading enterprise of the chemical industry in Russia and the country's largest producer of polymers and copolymers of ethylene, Kazanorgsintez PJSC annually produces 1,7 million tonnes of 250 products. The process of technical and technological development of production is as continuous as the work on improving its environmental friendliness.

The modernization of the main production facilities increases not only the efficiency of the enterprise as a whole but also its ecological safety. Thus, four pyrolysis furnaces put into operation in 2018 successfully replaced 10 old ones in terms of production volumes, and their total emission of pollutants into the atmosphere is more than 4 times lower: 284 tonnes a year against the previous 1,176 tonnes.

The modernization of B reactor at the plant of production and processing of low-pressure polyethylene will increase production volume up to 220,000 tonnes a year. The range and geography of shipment is growing. Last year, the company put into operation a unique palletizer. Keeping the possibility of convenient shipment, the equipment made it possible to eliminate the use of wood pallets, which reduced the cost of sending products to customers and saved thousands of trees from cutting down.

In 2018, Kazanorgsintez PJSC took an active part in the regional project “Preservation and Prevention of Pollution of the Volga River in the Territory of the Republic of Tatarstan”. Kazanorgsintez has developed a long-term plan of measures to reduce the discharge of contaminated effluents into the waters of the republic. The project consists of three major programmes designed for the period up to 2025. It is planned to upgrade the industrial wastewater treatment plant of the industrial wastewater neutralization shop, reconstruction with an increase in productivity up to 40,000 cubic metres a day at the plant of treatment facilities and external communications, the reconstruction of the underground part of the gravity sewer collector before release to the Volga River. The cost of the programme is billions of rubles.

In addition to large-scale environmental programmes, Kazanorgsintez PJSC participates actively in the republican and federal environmental protection measures. Over 6 years, the enterprise workers planted more than 4,700 trees. In 2018, in the contest Blooming Kazan, Kazanorgsintez became the best Kazan enterprise for the improvement of the territory. In August of the same year, for outstanding economic achievements and active social and environmental position Kazanorgsintez PJSC was included in the Book of Honour of Kazan. Mayor of Kazan Ilsur Metshin presented the corresponding certificate to Director General of the enterprise Farid Minigulov

TAIF-NK JSC: maximum production of light oil products as goal

The ecological management system at TAIF-NK JSC — one of the key members of the oil refining complex of Tatarstan — completely meets the international requirements ISO 14001:2015. A careful attitude to the environment is considered by the enterprise’s officials as top corporate priorities. Moreover, working with the feedstock that doesn’t have the best quality, TAIF-NK uses the latest technologies and provides a higher conversion rate and ecological indicators than many working with light oil with a low sulphur content.

TAIF-NK JSC sees the successful completion of the large-scale strategic investment project on the construction of the Heavy Residues Deep Conversion Complex as an opportunity to achieve greater results both for its factories and TAIF Group of Companies in general. The capacity of the complex is 3,7m tonnes of raw hydrocarbons a year. It includes tar, hydrogen, sulphur hydrocracking units and a number of auxiliary units and commodity and feedstock depots. Thanks to the unique technology of Veba Combi Cracking, the production of light products — liquefied hydrogen gases, naphtha, Euro 5 diesel fuel — is going to reach 98,5% of feedstock volumes.

The production promises to be zero waste, and, moreover, the use of the latest resource-saving technologies and the minimisation of the environmental impact are paid special attention during the construction.

The annual water consumption to cool the equipment down is 128 million cubic metres (5% of the volume of the entire Nizhnekamsk Reservoir). Trying to reduce the intake of fresh river water, the enterprise erected an effective water recycling unit. The application of tanks with water discharge through film and the use of special attachments allowed significantly reducing moisture evaporation. The shop of local biological wastewater treatment was put into operation in 2017, which allows eliminating up to 99,99% of all contaminants, including oil products. Treated water is included in technological processes again.

TGC-16 JSC: cheaper, eco-friendlier, more effective

As well as all TAIF Group’s enterprises, TGC-16 JSC is aimed at the maximal result in everything: in higher efficiency of energy saving of industrial hubs of the petrochemical complex and residential micro-districts of the republic, in energy saving and care of the environment. Special attention is paid to ecology in the company, while the compliance with ecological requirements is under the constant control of the officials.

After the Kazan CHPP-3 and the Nizhnekamsk CHPP (IBH-1) became part of TGC-16 in 2010, generating capacities were seriously modernised. Today both facilities are considered one of the latest and most efficient plants in power engineering not only in Tatarstan but also Russia in general. So the most powerful gas turbine made by General Electric was put into operation at the Kazan CHPP-3 in 2017. This enabled to increase the installed capacity of the power plant with a simultaneous reduction in the environmental impact.

The construction of treatment facilities for the storm, melt and industrial wastewater ended in 2018, when the CHPP celebrated its 50th anniversary. The project implemented at its expense (over 165m rubles) allowed TGC-16 to effectively join the priority project of the Russian Federation Conservation and Prevention of Contamination of the Volga River.

Technical rearmament of the first chemical shop of the Nizhnekamsk CHPP (IBH-1) took place last year, too. Chemically desalinated water generation increased to 1,900 tonnes an hour. An agreement with the key steam and hot water consumer — Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC — allowed providing the highest return of used condensate, thus reducing the consumption of chemical agents to treat water and using water resources in a more rational way. The share of wastes placed on its own long-term storage sites reduced by 4% compared to 2017.

The rise in the load of the gas turbine at the CHPP-3 last year increased energy generation compared to 2017 with a reduction in gross volume of emissions of the company by 12% (1,300 tonnes) a year and by 10,6% (2,300 tonnes) of the total mass of the waste.

Today TGC-16 already has the fourth energy saving programme designed from 2016 to 2020. The gas supply systems of boilers are going to be modernised. By specialists’ estimates, the optimisation of technological processes and energy saving measures that are taken will allow saving up to 31,6 million kWh a year and 605,000 Gcal of thermal energy, save 25,000 tonnes of oil equivalent. To compare, fuel consumption in Russia in 2013 was 321 g/kWh on average, 299 g/kW in 2017. The average fuel consumption at the Kazan CHPP-3 after the modernisation is 215 g/kWh. This means not only the power plant’s competitiveness but also a serious contribution to providing the ecological security of the country.

TAIF Group of Companies prepared the republic’s officials a programme solving two problems at once: it reduces the price for thermal and electrical energy for the population of Kazan and decreases the ecological impact of the metropolis. It is a shift of thermal load from numerous but mostly obsolete boilers to a central heating system.

2BIO JSC — first step of TAIF GC towards green chemistry

“It is very important for us to begin a noble path in green chemistry. We think that biodegradable polymers can effectively favour a gradual reduction in environmental contamination. Biopolymers can’t fully substitute traditional polymers in the short run because of production volumes, but we think that the launch of green, that’s to say, ecologically friendly, factories in highly-effective segments of the market can help to create new opportunities in plastic production,” TAIF JSC Director General Albert Shigabutdinov made this statement in October 2018 immediately after signing an agreement on joint plastic production project with Bio-on S.p.A. from Italy.

The signing ceremony, which was in the presence of President of Russia Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister of Italy Giuseppe Conte, took place in Moscow during bilateral Russian-Italian meetings.

Less than two months after the signing of the agreement, the joint enterprise 2BIO JSC was registered in Tatarstan in Alabuga SEZ, TAIF JSC and Investire Italia s.r.l. from Italy were its founders. The enterprise, which is unique for Russia, will produce biodegradable materials (polyhydroxyalkanoate), including for eco-friendly packaging production. This polymer completely decomposes for 30-45 days. In addition, the bioplastic’s features are close to traditional plastics (polyethylene and polypropylene). Molasses will become the feedstock — the waste of Tatarstan sugar manufacturing factories. The initial capacity of the €90m project is 10,000 tonnes of bioplastics a year with a view to doubling it.

Any process or undertaking of TAIF is based on accurate calculations: viability, economic feasibility and compulsorily environmental friendliness. The employees and the management of numerous factories of the Group of Companies are residents of Tatarstan and personally want themselves, their children and grandchildren to live in an ecologically safe region. And this is why they spare no effort and money to conserve the environment.

By Arseny Favstritsky