Rustam Minnikhanov: “In today's economic situation, the best thing is stable operation of enterprises”

The Tatarstan president thanked Nizhnekamskneftekhim for its production activities in the context of the pandemic

Tatarstan President Rustam Minnikhanov paid a working visit to Nizhnekamsk to personally assess measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus infection at Nizhnekamskneftekhim, part of TAIF Group. Within the trip, the head of the republic visited the construction site of the future complex Ethylene-600 of Nizhnekamskneftekhim, inspected structural divisions, met with labour collectives. About how the flagship of petrochemistry is resisting the spread of COVID-19 and what Rustam Minnikhanov drew attention to — read in the material of Realnoe Vremya.

Strengthened regime, high morale

An extensive programme awaited Rustam Minnikhanov in Nizhnekamsk. After visiting the production facilities of TANECO, the government delegation went to the largest petrochemical enterprise in Europe — Nizhnekamskneftekhim, where the head of the republic was met by Director General of TAIF PSC Ruslan Shigabutdinov and Director General of Nizhnekamskneftekhim Ayrat Safin.

In the context of the coronavirus pandemic, Nizhnekamskneftekhim did not halt production, but, after making the necessary adjustments to the operation, has switched to a special mode. All shift buses are undergoing enhanced disinfection — the company has purchased special equipment for this purpose. An operational headquarters for the fight against COVID-19 has been established at Nizhnekamskneftekhim.

The first point of visit was the isoprene-monomer plant. Isoprene is necessary for the production of synthetic rubber. The president was informed that the capacity of the plant after technical re-equipment in 2019 is 333,000 tonnes a year. The production technology is unique in terms of low cost of production. This has been achieved due to the low production stages and low consumption coefficients for raw materials, auxiliary materials and energy.

The isoprene-monomer plant's employees told Rustam Minnikhanov about the measures taken to prevent the spread of coronavirus infection. They have recently introduced contactless reception and change of shifts.

“Antiseptics and masks are available. The receiving shift makes a round and leaves the room from the other entrance. After that, all surfaces are cleaned. The employees of another shift receive a message on the phone that the room has been processed, and they start working," they told the president about the changes introduced to the work of the enterprise.

“I will try to help. Such constructions cannot be halted”

Then the delegation went to the construction site of the new olefin production complex (EP-600), where ethylene, propylene, butadiene, benzene, and petrochemical by-products will be produced. The launch of the project will double the capacity and update the product line of Nizhnekamskneftekhim.

In the administrative building of the future production facility, Rustam Minnikhanov was shown a layout of the complex where the production lines will be located.

“The heart of the ethylene plant is the pyrolysis oven. Six furnaces in operation, one in reserve. They are followed by the induration node. It is designed for the selection of heavy hydrocarbons. After that, the products will go for gas separation. This is where the compressor room is located. We will also have a shared operator room. Management will be performed from here," Rustam Minnikhanov was told about the details of the layout of the complex under construction.

To see the scale of the construction, the delegation went up to the roof of the administrative building. At the special closed viewing platform, the company's CEO, Ayrat Safin, spoke about the progress of preparatory work for the large construction site and the current situation in connection with the coronavirus pandemic.

“Currently, the piles are being loaded, and by the end of May, we will completely drive them. The only problem is a possible ban on entry due to the pandemic," said Ayrat Safin.

“I will try to help in this matter. Such constructions are impossible to halt. We need to bring people in, isolate them for a while and continue working," Rustam Minnikhanov said.

Preparatory work on the complex began in September 2019, and the construction is scheduled for June this year. The general contractor is Turkish company Gemont, and the licensor of the process is German holding Linde AG. The plant will produce ethylene in the amount of 600,000 tonnes a year, propylene — 272,000, butadiene — 88,000, benzene — 246,000. The raw material capacity is 1,7 million tonnes a year.

To minimize contacts, separate buses and a passageway have been organized for contractors. A base for receiving equipment and materials is being prepared, temporary roads are being built and electric lighting is being provided.

Volunteer movement has united petrochemists

At the ethylene plant, Rustam Minnikhanov also met with the labor collective. The head of the republic learned that the company has created a volunteer quarters that is engaged in sewing and distributing medical masks. In just a week, volunteers sewed more than 50,000 personal protective equipment at home. Masks are distributed to employees of the company, veterans of production, as well as medical workers.

Moreover, petrochemists handed over 20 rolls of non-woven material to the city administration for sewing more than 100,000 medical masks. In the context of the pandemic, petrochemists pay special attention to the older generation. The veterans of production and disabled people of I and II groups received food packages.

The head of Tatarstan inspected pyrolysis ovens at the ethylene production complex. Before delving into the production details, he turned to the company's staff.

“Are you provided with means of protection?" Rustam Minnikhanov asked the petrochemists.

“Masks, gloves, antiseptics — everything is there.

Rustam Minnikhanov wished them success in their work and perseverance in this troubled time.

A total of 18 ovens are installed at the plant. Two of them of the new SRT-VI type were commissioned in 2018. They made it possible to increase the reliability of the oven unit, reduce fuel gas consumption and reduce the amount of flue gas emissions into the atmosphere.

The launch of two new ovens, together with the work of existing ones, provided record volumes of ethylene production — up to 618,000 tonnes, and propylene — up to 302,000 tonnes at the end of last year. In total, almost 2 million tonnes of raw materials have been processed. Ethylene, propylene, divinyl, benzene and other products obtained after processing are used in own production facilities for the production of rubbers and plastics.

The production capacity of non-woven material has reached 28 tonnes a day

The company's central control room in the main administrative building was the next point on the presidential route. The dispatcher, who receives all operational data about the work of production facilities, told about the current situation. There was also a working meeting via video conference with the heads of departments. They reported how the structural divisions and subsidiaries of Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC are working. The meeting was also attended by Albert Shigabutdinov, the chief adviser to the director general of TAIF PSC for development.

During the video conference, Director of Polymatiz JSC Radik Yarullin said that the company is working in an accelerated regime. The production of non-woven material has reached 28 tonnes a day, and the production for medicine and hygiene has increased by up to 90%. Contracts have been signed for the supply of goods to the single operator in the republic — Tattekhmedfarm.

“On April 10, the company received the equipment that arrived at Kazan Airport from the Chinese city of Tianjin on that day. The next day, together with Chinese specialists, the installation began. A day later, the line was installed and running-in of the equipment began. On April 13, we started production. On this automated production line, we will produce about 2,5 million masks a month," Radik Yarullin shared the good news.

“The supply of reagents necessary for the treatment of drinking water is sufficient”

Rustam Minnikhanov found out about measures to combat coronavirus infection at the biological water treatment plant. Currently, the Biological Treatment Plant of Nizhnekamskneftekhim is also working in a regular mode. The staff has been instructed, provided with memos, antiseptics and personal protective equipment. During the shift, employees' body temperature is monitored. The premises are being disinfected.

“The carried out reconstruction of biological treatment facilities allows effluent treatment to meet the regulatory requirements for quality, while avoiding unpleasant odors. The decontamination of treated wastewater and industrial waste is carried out in accordance with the recommendations of Rospotrebnadzor, under increased control from the bio laboratory of BTF. The measures taken made it possible to ensure the operation of treatment facilities in normal mode, without diseases among the technological personnel. All measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus infection are being observed," said Sergey Boyarkin, the head of the department of water supply and wastewater treatment.

The Water Treatment Station — Nizhnekamskneftekhim is also operating without interruptions. It supplies Nizhnekamsk with clean drinking water corresponding to the sanitary regulations and standards.

“Every day, the station receives about 70,000 cubic metres of water from the Kama River. Here it goes through five stages of treatment. The water quality is monitored by our own laboratory. The water quality corresponds to the sanitary regulations and standards. The supply of reagents necessary for the treatment of drinking water is sufficient. In order to prevent the spread of infection, an approved programme of sanitary treatment of the territory and premises is being carried out, and all necessary measures are being observed. The work is underway to modernize the station, which provides for the reconstruction of 12 coal filters, 5 of which have already been modernized and put into operation," Director of SOV-NKNK Alexander Gnedenkov assured the head of Tatarstan.

“I am addressing you with words of great gratitude and hope”

Rustam Minnikhanov asked how work was going under quarantine at SGT-TPP power plant under construction, where employees of contractors are currently working.

“All necessary measures are taken at the construction site to prevent the spread of coronavirus infection. The access to the construction site is restricted. Meetings are now online. The personnel of the general contractor and the customer comply with all prevention measures and are provided with protective equipment," Almaz Mukhametzyanov, the director of SGT-TPP, noted in the report.

Mukhametzyanov expressed concern that the pandemic could have a negative impact on the project. However, Nizhnekamskneftekhim, together with the general contractor, Siemens AG, are making every effort to maintain the pace of construction within the contractual schedule. By the way, now the work is progressing without lag.

Ilshat Fatykhov, the deputy chief engineer for production control over industrial safety and labour protection, reported on the general operational situation at Nizhnekamskneftekhim, assuring of the absence of violations and positive attitude of the staff.

“All necessary measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus infection are being taken. Everyone is provided with protective equipment. The delivery of personnel to and from work has been organized in accordance with the requirements of Rospotrebnadzor. The temperature is measured without contact on the passageways, and the hands are disinfected with antiseptics. We have organized the disinfection of vehicles, passageways, stops, canteens and the company's territory with a special disinfectant solution. Additional checkpoints have been set up for employees of third-party organizations and Nizhnekamskneftekhim," Ilshat Fatykhov stressed.

Moreover, Nizhnekamskneftekhim's employees and its subsidiaries are routinely tested for COVID-19. The polyclinic and health centers are equipped with everything necessary, and additional anti-epidemic measures have been introduced.

Summing up his visit to Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC, the president of Tatarstan thanked the workers for work in the conditions of global isolation, noted the timeliness of the measures taken and indicated the need to continue the work. The most important task during this period is to do everything possible to preserve the team and production potential.

“We have discussed not only the work of production sites but also security measures in the micro districts where employees of enterprises are living. This is also a very important part of our work. I would like to thank you for your work. In today's economic situation, the best thing is stable operation of enterprises. I am addressing you with words of great gratitude and hope. I hope it will be better soon. I wish you good job!” Rustam Minnikhanov concluded.

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By Lilia Yegorova

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