Rustam Minnikhanov: “I hope that our republic will continue to be the centre of chemistry”
The president of Tatarstan congratulated the industry representatives on Chemist's Day
President of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov visited Kazanorgsintez PJSC on the eve of Chemist's Day. During the visit, the president got acquainted with the implementation of projects of the Strategic programme for the development of the flagship of the petrochemical industry, met with the labour collectives of plants for the production and processing of low-pressure polyethylene, bisphenol A and ethylene. Rustam Minnikhanov inspected the recently constructed and under construction production facilities, paying attention to the environmental friendliness of all projects. Mass celebrations on the occasion of Chemist's Day had to be cancelled because of the coronavirus this year. The Tatarstan leader congratulated the labour collectives of chemical and petrochemical enterprises, research and educational institutions from the central control room of Kazanorgsintez via videoconferencing. On the same day, Rustam Minnikhanov also visited the complex of Lebyazhye Lakes, restored at the expense of the Kazan chemical giant.
About 50 organisations are in touch
Chemist's Day is traditionally celebrated on the last Sunday in May. For Tatarstan, as the key region of the Russian chemical industry, this is one of the main professional holidays. Most often, official celebrations are held in Nizhnekamsk — the centre of the chemical industry of the republic, where this holiday is also the unofficial main city celebration. However, this year, due to restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic, all celebrations have been cancelled.
Nevertheless, even under the current conditions, Rustam Minnikhanov had the opportunity to talk to chemists via videoconferencing from the control room of Kazanorgsintez. At the production site, the president of the republic was accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister of Tatarstan — Minister of Industry and Trade of Tatarstan Albert Karimov, Director General of TAIF PSC Ruslan Shigabutdinov, Chief Adviser to the Director General for Development of TAIF PSC Albert Shigabutdinov and Director General of Kazanorgsintez PJSC Farid Minigulov.
The meeting dedicated to the professional holiday was attended by leaders of about 50 enterprises of the chemical and petrochemical industries, educational institutions, research institutes and other organisations related to the chemical industry, as well as leaders of municipalities of the republic. In his speech, the Tatarstan leader noted that “our republic is oil and petrochemical”, and Chemist's Day is a big holiday that has always been celebrated widely and on a large scale, and only this year, for obvious reasons, it had to be held in a “truncated format”. Nevertheless, the president warmly congratulated the chemists and petrochemists and thanked them for their work:
“Good afternoon, our veterans, managers of petrochemical industries, employees, students, postgraduates — all those who are somehow connected with chemistry and petrochemistry! The Republic of Tatarstan is the country's leading centre for chemistry and petrochemistry. And of course, Chemist's Day is a holiday for us, which we have always celebrated solemnly. We've found such a good form: Chemist's Day was celebrated in Nizhnekamsk. All the same, Nizhnekamsk is a certain concentration of our large chemical production facilities. Unfortunately, the situation with the coronavirus this year has limited us in carrying out the event. But I am sincerely grateful to all of you! Today, at Kazanorgsintez, we have visited all production facilities and heard information about the prospects for further development, you have reported on this today. I am very grateful to all of you for that, despite the economic difficulties, everything we have planned is being implemented. The most important thing in this is people, professionals.
Therefore, through you, dear leaders, I would like to convey my gratitude to all the workers who work in the chemical industry, to congratulate everyone on Chemist's Day and I hope that our republic will continue to be the centre of chemistry. And of course, without science, without university, without the technological university, without institutions, without federal support, it is impossible to implement this. But today we have a complete understanding of how to move. Therefore, I would like to wish everyone health and success. Thank you very much for your work. Happy holidays!” Rustam Minnikhanov congratulated.
On the same day, Rustam Minnikhanov made a tour around the industrial site of Kazanorgsinte PJSC. He visited the construction site of the new production of isopropylbenzene at the Bisphenol A Production Plant, the area next to the upgraded Reactor B at the HDPE Production and Processing Plant and launched in late 2018 as part of the integrated testing four new pyrolysis furnace at the ethylene plant and factory operator rooms.
“Currently, the work is continuing on the development projects of Kazanorgsintez until 2025. The introduction of new technologies and new joint ventures will allow us to maintain our leading positions in the market. The strategic development programme, which was adopted by the board of directors, is currently being implemented. To date, three of the ten investment projects have already been completed. Two more are planned to be completed this year. These are projects for the modernisation of the ethylene plant and the production of polycarbonates with an increase in capacity to 100,000 tonnes a year," said Farid Minigulov, the director general of Kazanorgsintez.
Marat Khairullin, the director of the Bisphenol A Production Plant, met the president at the new isopropylbenzene production site under construction. Rustam Minnikhanov passed through the territory of what is known as “the phenolic bush” — this is the historical part of the enterprise. It was here on July 13, 1963 with the first batch of phenol that the history of production of commercial products of Kazanorgsintez began. Here, in April 1964, the production of isopropylbenzene, also called cumene, was launched, which is the raw material for the joint production of phenol and acetone. For today, it is the oldest production, which has already been modernised.
It is being replaced by a completely new production of isopropylbenzene using zeolite catalysts based on Badger technology. This technology ensures minimal environmental impact, high purity of the resulting cumene, as well as reducing energy consumption threefold and raw material consumption by up to 2,5%. The project is planned to be implemented in two stages until 2022.
More of polyethylene, less impact on environment
Rustem Muzafarov, the director of the HDPE Productions and Processing Plant, told about the reconstruction of the Reactor B in the production of low-pressure polyethylene. The long-awaited implementation of this project became possible as a continuation of the production chain after increasing the production capacity of ethylene at the newly created facilities at the site of Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC. The project is aimed at increasing the production capacity of low-pressure polyethylene of various grades by Reactor B to 220-256 thousand tonnes a year and achieving the total production capacity of HDPE to 660-720 thousand tonnes a year.
In the course of the work, it is planned to solve serious environmental problems — to significantly reduce the impact on the environment. It is planned to introduce a waste gas recovery unit at the reactor. Thus, these gases are planned not to be burned but returned to the technological process. Earlier, the Reactors A and C were similarly modernised.
During the tour around the production facilities of Kazanorgsintez, the president highly appreciated the work of the company and TAIF Group in general in the conditions of the coronavirus pandemic.
“We must pay tribute to TAIF as a whole and Kazanorgsintez. We have seen a very high organization of work in the conditions of coronavirus. All security measures, rotational works, personnel control — all these issues have been organised. Today, against the backdrop of the global economic downturn, demand is declining, and all this is having an adverse impact. But nevertheless, the company has not stopped for a single day and is working steadily. Today, we have reviewed the production facilities that are to be modernised. There are very big plans to increase the production of polymers and for a new, more high-tech production of polycarbonate, that is, a big strategy for further development. The company is working steadily," said Rustam Minnikhanov.
Furnaces are more powerful and emissions are fewer
Aleksey Belov, the director of the Ethylene Plant, demonstrated the new furnace block to Rustam Minnikhanov. The capacity of each of the four new furnaces for raw materials is 18 t/hour. The total share of ethylene produced at them is equal to 43% of the total amount of ethylene produced at the plant. According to Aleksey Belov, the new furnaces allowed to increase the output of target products (ethylene, propylene) with the same volume of processed raw materials. To improve the industrial safety of the facility, remote monitoring and operation control have been established from a bunker-type operator room.
At the same time, modern gas analysis equipment makes it possible to conduct the technological mode more economically and, most importantly, more environmentally friendly. Analysers for monitoring the oxygen content of flue gases help to efficiently use the fuel mixture and reduce the negative impact on the environment. To improve the industrial safety of the facility, remote monitoring and operation control have been established from a bunker-type operator room.
The president was satisfied with what he had seen at the enterprise. According to him, there can be no doubt that, despite all the difficulties, Kazanorgsintez and TAIF Group will fulfill their investment programme:
“I can say that since 2000, we have had, in my opinion, the fourth programme for the development of the petrochemical complex. I have no doubt that TAIF's investment programme will be implemented. Yes, there may be some changes, but we are receiving new offers. Even what we have seen today allows us to increase the production of polyethylene at existing capacities by 3 times at a cost 3,5 times lower than to build a new production facility. And new technologies can reduce emissions and make production more environmentally friendly," said Rustam Minnikhanov.
According to him, although the company is successfully managing the announced investment projects, in these difficult conditions, support from the federal government would be most welcome for all manufacturers:
“The federal government should support domestic producers. We work in export markets. The Russian market is open, but European markets have some restrictions. Therefore, we should support our producers. In general, our work, as President Vladimir Putin said, should be aimed at import substitution. We should provide the country with all the petrochemical products that Russia needs.
Bike ride on Lebyazhye Lakes
On the same day, Rustam Minnikhanov visited another, perhaps the most notable environmental project of Kazanorgsintez and TAIF Group — the Lebyazhye Park and the complex of lakes with the same name. He visited the restored forest park during a bike ride. Now the improvement works in the forest park, which began in 2019, continue.
Let us remind that the complex of Lebyazhye Lakes was restored in 2016-2018 thanks to the efforts of Kazanorgsintez PJSC and TAIF Group. As part of the project, the company conducted a large-scale unique eco-rehabilitation of the cascade of Lebyazhye Lakes. At the expense of funds and equipment of Kazanorgsintez, the drying lake Maloe Lebyazhye has been cleared and two previously lost lakes have been recreated.
The basins of reservoirs have been cleaned, retaining a protective layer of silt and clay. During the work, the bottom of the lakes was deepened to 4-5 metres. To keep water from leaving, a special three-layer screen consisting of bentonite based on bentonite clay was laid on the bottom of two lakes. A pumping station with a capacity of 800 cubic metres per hour was built to fill the lakes with water. The station installed two pumps with a capacity of 160 kW. Kazanorgsintez laid under ground the pipe with a length of 1,5 km from the Izumrudnoe Lake to Swan Lakes. Water flows through it to the reservoir. To fill the lake with water, the pump worked around the clock for about 120 days. Almost 1,5 million cubic metres of water have been pumped into the ponds.
In October 2019, the Lebyazhye Park in Kazan was recognized as one of the best in the Eurasian Park Awards category of the most prestigious international award International Large Urban Parks Awards.