‘The project is running smoothly’: assembly of heavy equipment starts in Nizhnekamskneftekhim’s ethylene plant

A primary fractionating column delivered from South Korea is assembled at EP-600 facility

‘The project is running smoothly’: assembly of heavy equipment starts in Nizhnekamskneftekhim’s ethylene plant
Photo: Rinat Nazmetdinov

The leading Russian synthetic rubber and ethylene manufacturer Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC began to assemble the first large equipment on the construction site of the new olefin complex Ethylene-600. The 640-tonne and 78-metre primary fractionating column arrived in Nizhnekamsk from South Korea by water. The transportation of the equipment took two months, the assembly did two days. Read in Realnoe Vremya’s report more about the implementation and meaning of the project.

Through Pacific and Indian Oceans

A DA013-01 column together with another eight set out from South Korea’s Port of Ulsan on 21 April. Happy Star ship crossed the Pacific and Indian Oceans for almost a month. On 17 May, after the arrival in Romania’s Port of Constanța in the Black Sea, the equipment was unloaded into river barges and sent to the destination. After the river systems of the Don, Volga and Kama Rivers, the pontoon boat docked not far from Nizhnekamsk.

After the river systems of the Don, Volga and Kama Rivers, the pontoon boat docked not far from Nizhnekamsk. Photo: Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC

The column was transported from the pier to the assembly site on a deliberately designed and prepared route. For this purpose, roads were expanded, obstacles on the way were removed, and temporary structures were built. The construction site itself prepared a territory to place the column and carry out customs clearance. Specialists call this leg of the journey the “last mile”.

Strategic meaning of project

The DA013-01 column that arrived from South Korea has impressive dimensions: it is 78 metres high, 8 metres in diameter, weighs 640 tonnes. The equipment is part of the primary fractionating unit designed for extracting pyrolysis mazut and pyrolysis gasoil from pyrolysis gas coming from pyrolysis furnaces.

“Pyrolysis gas will be cleared of heavy hydrocarbons and coke in the primary fractionating column. The strategic meaning of the project is that feedstock consumption will reduce and commodity processing will increase. Expensive by-products such as polyethylene, polypropylene, plastic, rubbers will be made from ethylene, propylene produced,” says Lenar Nagimullin, director of Ethylene-600 plant.

The DA013-01 column that arrived from South Korea has impressive dimensions: it is 78 metres high, 8 metres in diameter, weighs 640 tonnes

The process of primary fractionation will be provided with two cycles of quenching oil used as energy to cool down pyrolysis gas and deliver recovered heat to consumers.

In the upper section of the primary fractionating column, cracking gas will be cleaned off from traces of oil components with pyrolysis petrol cleansing. In the middle column, light oil components will cool down and condensated, in the upper column, cracking oil will be cleaned off from oil traces.

Own local treatment facilities and smokeless flare

According to specialists, the column as well as the project in general designed with state-of-the-art technology won’t have a harmful environmental impact. Positive reports of state environmental and main state inspections confirm it. The facility will use the latest technology to process crude hydrocarbon, which will provide reliability, safety and effectiveness of the production. Its own local treatment facilities will allow reducing river water consumption from the Kama River, which will have a positive environmental impact.

“All industrial water will be treated and reused in the plant. A smokeless flare will enable to reduce emissions. The most important thing is not to emit hydrocarbon into the atmosphere but burn it. Only carbon dioxide is formed during combustion,” Lenar Nagimullin, director of Ethylene-600 plant, explained the details.

For the assembly, the specialists are using a unique DEMAG CC crane that can lift 1,600 tonnes

According to him, Mammoet will install the DA013-01 column as well as all 17 items of the heavy equipment. For the assembly, the specialists are using a unique DEMAG CC crane that can lift 1,600 tonnes.

“The heavy equipment is not lifted every day. If the work takes a day, the preparation takes a year. We began to prepare for the assembly of the column as early as in autumn 2019. We prepared projects for equipment delivery and booking. There aren’t a lot of cranes of this kind in the country, we booked it beforehand,” Director of Construction Department at Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC Damir Khalimov said.

264 items of equipment during navigation period

Before the start of lifting, the contractors did safety training and only then they began to turn the column over into horizontal position. It is planned to invite about 20 people to assemble the equipment at different stages.

Director General of Nizhnekamsneftekhim Ayrat Safin arrived to see how the first large equipment in the new EP-600 facility began to be assembled. The head of the company explained how important this procedure was.

Director General of Nizhnekamsneftekhim Ayrat Safin arrived to see how the first large equipment in the new EP-600 facility began to be assembled

“We witness a unique moment of our project. We approached it despite the situation around the world because of the spread of the coronavirus, Nizhnekamskneftekhim continues the investment programme. The heaviest column is assembled today. It is the next milestone in this project. We know that the project is running smoothly and will end on time,” Director General of Nizhnekamsneftekhim Ayrat Safin stressed.

Another 17 items of large equipment will soon be delivered to the site. 264 items of equipment in total will arrive at Nizhnekamskneftekhim during the navigation period from June to September 2020. It will be stored in interim warehouses near the assembly site, which will allow reducing time and logistics due to customs clearance procedures. Linde AG will end the delivery of equipment in July 2021.

This project is economically and socially profitable from all angles”

Ethylene-600 is one of the main strategic projects of Nizhnekamskneftekhim. The facility will allow upgrading and expanding the production line. Despite the difficulties that arose due to the coronavirus pandemic, the company hasn’t stopped this big project even for a day but kept working taking all sanitary and epidemiological measures.

“It is a continuation of the development of our enterprise, increase of production of commodities, payments to the republican budget. This project is economically and socially profitable for the whole republic and Russia in general from all angles. We consider both growth in production of such goods as polyethylene, polypropylene as well as the production of new products we will soon learn about,” Director General of Nizhnekamsneftekhim Ayrat Safin said about the future plant.

Together with 600,000 tonnes of ethylene a year, 270,000 tonnes of propylene a year, 248,000 tonnes of benzene a year, 89,000 tonnes of butadiene a year will be made here too. The rise in production and the production of new goods will favour the social and economic development of the region. There will be created 600 new jobs on the territory of the facility, the amount of taxes paid to the budget of the city and the republic will increase.

Together with 600,000 tonnes of ethylene a year, 270,000 tonnes of propylene a year, 248,000 tonnes of benzene a year, 89,000 tonnes of butadiene a year will be made here too

“200 engineers and 400 machinists, operators will work here. It will be mainly citizens of Nizhnekamsk. We need experienced staff, this is why we will hire people from current plants or university graduates who had practice in the operating plant. Trained staff for start-up and commissioning has already been employed,” Director of Ethylene-600 plant Lenar Nagimullin stressed.

We should remind our readers that the implementation of the unique project on the construction of the olefin facility began with the signing of a memorandum on strategic cooperation between TAIF Group and Linde AG company from Germany in June 2017 on the sidelines of the Petersburg International Economic Forum. Within the document signed between Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC and Linde Engineering subdivision, there was signed a basic agreement on design, delivery of equipment and launch of the first stage of the future plant.

A bit later, in February 2017, a contract on a set of construction and assembly works was signed between Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC and Gemont international Turkish construction company for the project EP-600 Olefin Facility Construction. The Turkish company was chosen after two stages of the tender. It provided the best offer from both technical and economic perspectives. German company Linde AG offered the technology, it will do engineering works, deliver the equipment and materials.

Gemont has been long known in Tatarstan. The company implemented a series of big projects, including the construction of facilities at TAIF-NK JSC. The Turkish company erected structures and assembled equipment in the Heavy Residues High Conversion Facility (HRHCF).

During the works at EP-600, Gemont plans to invite local construction organisations too

“Despite the pandemic, we began the project on time and keep to the schedule. Many projects are experiencing hardships around the world, our project wasn’t subjected to them, fortunately. Today the first operation of the assemble of the heavy equipment is carried out. I hope our work will keep to the schedule and we will finish the project for Nizhnekamskneftekhim,” Levent Kurşun, head of the project on the new Ethylene-600 ethylene facility, talked about the course of construction works.

“We know what problems can arise and take measures”

During the works at EP-600, Gemont plans to invite local construction organisations too. But the specialists from Turkey will weld, assemble ironworks and manufacturing pipelines on the most responsible sites.

“As for the percentage of the workforce we use, the number of local workers is 70-75%. We will try to keep this ratio. But we will use our workforce for some specific types of works like we did before,” Levent Kurşun noted.

He stressed that every project had certain risks, especially during the pandemic. To minimise them, Gemont prepared a set of measures.

According to the specialists, the main construction stage will end in December 2022. The petrochemists plant to get the first tonne of products at the beginning of the second half of 2023

“We aren’t doing this work for the first time. We know what problems can arise and take certain measures. Not 6,500 people but 7,000 will work at the peak, but we will end the work on time,” he concluded and added that TAIF GC was a special client for Gemont.

“The management of the company is interested in the timely and high-quality completion of the project. This is why they provide us with all help, and we thank them for this,” Kurşun says.

850 people are working in the big construction project of Nizhnekamskneftekhim, 147 pieces of machinery are used. Besides the assembly of the main manufacturing equipment, pits are dug, roads are built, lighting is provided, piles are driven and the foundation is laid. A camp is built for the shift workers.

According to the specialists, the main construction stage will end in December 2022. The petrochemists plant to get the first tonne of products at the beginning of the second half of 2023.

By Liliya Yegorova, Yekaterina Kharitonova. Photo: Rinat Nazmetdinov
Tatarstan