History of Nizhnekamskneftekhim: fateful decisions, struggle for world market and strengthening the position

This year is special for the Republic of Tatarstan, which celebrates the centenary of the Tatar ASSR, and for TAIF Group, which turns 30 years. In 1990, Kazan VTNPO (Foreign Trade Research and Production Association) was formed, which began the formation of one of the largest multi-industry groups in Russia. Today, TAIF is a successful group of companies that combines oil and gas processing — TAIF-NK, power engineering — TGC-16, petrochemistry and chemistry — Kazanorgsintez and Nizhnekamskneftekhim, construction industry and the production of building materials, as well as information, comprehensive and other services. Realnoe Vremya publishes a series of articles about TAIF Group in the history of Tatarstan. This material is dedicated to one of the largest petrochemical complexes in Europe — Nizhnekamskneftekhim. Part one.

53 years with Tatarstan

The history of Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC is an integral part of the history of Tatarstan and the formation of the city of Nizhnekamsk.

The decision to build the large-scale production of synthetic rubbers in Nizhnyaya Kama region was made at the very end of the 1950s.

“In the 1950s, the development of oil fields, including one of the largest in the country — Romashkinskoye, was in full swing in the TASSR.‑ However, there was no oil refining or petrochemistry in the republic.­

On 8 May 1958, the Council of Ministers of the USSR adopted the resolution 'On the list of buildings, again at the start of the design in 1958', and on July 23 of the same year, the CPSU Central Committee and the USSR Council of Ministers signed the decree 'On the acceleration of the production of artificial and synthetic fibres, plastics and other synthetic materials, and products to meet the needs of population and industry in the years 1958-1965'. These documents actually became the first stones in the foundation of the formation of two powerful chemical enterprises in Soviet Tartary at once — the Kazan Organichesky Sintez and the Nizhnekamsk petrochemical plant.

On October 28, 1960, Fikryat Tabeyev was elected as the first secretary of the Republican Committee of the Tatar ASSR. At 32, he became the youngest regional leader in the Soviet Union. Clearly understanding the importance of petrochemical production for the republic and the country, Tabeyev at the first extended meeting of the Tatsovnarkhoz (Tatar Regional Economic Soviet), held under his chairmanship on November 14, 1960 — just 2 weeks after his confirmation in office, included in the agenda the discussion of the establishment of the Nizhnekamsk petrochemical plant. A month later, on December 22, 1960, at a meeting in Naberezhnye Chelny, they returned to the issue in more detail. It was decided that from January of the new 1961 year, the organisations that were planned to be involved in the construction of the petrochemical plant were to start work.

Three days later, on December 25, 1960, the first cat train arrived at the site of the future construction. A team of machine operators delivered residential cars on wheels, a mobile boiler house, and power plants. A week later, geologists and topographers from the Union's Giprokauchuk Institute arrived. They were to work out the “geodesic sub-base” — a detailed map with coordinates, altitude marks, the composition and condition of the soil, the presence of underground plateaus and subsoil water — thousands of measurements and studies, without which any, and even more so large-scale construction is impossible.

Ivan Alekseyevich Sannikov, 35-year-old chemical engineer from Sterlitamak, Bashkortostan, was appointed the first director of the future petrochemical plant in March 1961, when the contours of the future production facility were indicated only on the design drawings. In a short time, Sannikov managed to assemble a team of highly qualified specialists who were going to start building the huge complex from scratch.

At the beginning, there was nothing — no roads, no housing. Drinking water had to be transported from several kilometres away. Bread — from Naberezhnye Chelny. There was only an open field around, where in 1961 the works on the construction of the future petrochemical giant began. First of all, works were started on the construction of roads and railways, without which the delivery of building materials and builders would be very difficult. Almost impossible. Power lines were installed in parallel, and the laying of water pipes began.

In October 1962, in the forest of the Biklyansky forestry enterprise, part of the territory of which was to become the plant, they began clearing the site of trees, removing soil, forming a construction grid with a breakdown into objects. One of the first structures was a temporary fence that outlined the construction base for warehouses, mechanical repair shops, canteen and the Central Gas Fractionation Unit (CGFU). In the same year, the construction site was declared an All-Union Top-priority Komsomol one. From all over the country, those who were ready, despite the inconveniences of everyday life and hard work, to build the much-needed industrial complex for the state came here.

“I often remember the day when Glikman, the head of Tatneftestroy from Almetyevsk, and I went on a tractor to see over the vast fields where the petrochemical complex was supposed to be located. Then we drove to the place where the first brick nine-storey building was laid and put up a poster: “There will be founded a town!”. Many people considered us dreamers," Fikryat Tabeyev shared In an interview in January 2013.

Initially, the Nizhnekamsk petrochemical plant was not supposed to have such a scale as can be seen today. It was planned that the company would become a specialised production of synthetic rubbers, as well as monomers — the raw material for further processing into polymers. And the raw material was to be primarily Tatarstan's associated petroleum gas, which then was produced up to 8 billion cubic metres a year and processed barely a quarter of this volume. About 6 billion cubic metres of valuable raw materials were flared. Tabeyev was sure that it was necessary to review the original general layout of the plant, increase capacity, lengthen the chain of further processing, and provide for a wider range of products. With these proposals, Fikryat Tabeyev went to the State Planning Committee of the USSR (Gosplan). But he was not heard. "“Why does Tartary need oil refining? Druzhba oil pipeline begins on your territory — so pump oil!” they replied. Tabeyev was not going to give up and achieved a meeting with Nikita Khrushchev.

“We wanted to build a huge oil industry complex for processing gases, but it was a great mistake to lose petrochemical raw materials on such a huge scale. It was necessary to learn how to process it based on our own scientific achievements. The country's leadership refused to resolve this issue many times. But I went and proved again and again. Our competitor was Tobolsk, something similar they wanted to do in this city, the minister of chemistry directed all the money there. But I fought for the idea," Tabeyev recalled of the difficulties that had to be overcome on the way to the construction of the petrochemical giant.

In May 1963, they started building the first unit of the Central Gas Fractionating Unit (CGFU-1). It was planned to build a real industrial “mini-town” of 80 blocks, bridges, buildings and pipelines, linking production with the supplier of raw materials — Minnibaevsky gas processing plant. Simultaneously with the factory buildings, the worker's settlement was also growing.

In 1963, Ivan Sannikov was replaced as director of the petrochemical plant under construction by 34-year-old Nikolay Lemaev, who worked as deputy head of the chemical industry department of the Tatar Sovnarkhoz from 1960 to 1963. Ivan Sannikov remained at his native enterprise as deputy director of the chemical plant for capital construction. Sannikov put a lot of effort into the appearance of such important objects for the city as the tram road to Krasny Klyuch and the TV tower. At the complex itself, he took part in the construction of SKI-3 No.1 facilities. He was a direct participant in the design of the first plant in the USSR for the production of basic polyester. For a year and a half, Sannikov worked at the Nizhnekamsk CHPP (PTK-1) under construction, and then returned to Nizhnekamskneftekhim as deputy chief engineer for the construction of the Butyl Rubber Plant. Later, under his leadership, ELOU-AVT unit was built, which became part of the pilot plant, the director of which Ivan Sannikov worked as from 1977 to 1987 — until his retirement.

Nikolay Lemaev is a legend, he put his whole life and soul in the construction of the complex. Back in the 1960s, he laid the basis for the company's social policy, to which petrochemists are faithful to this day: “Good work begins with a settled life.” Six words filled not only with deep meaning but also with concrete actions: tens of thousands of comfortable apartments, new kindergartens, schools, sports facilities, shops and ateliers, heat and water supply facilities, recreation centres and health camps, cinemas and theatres. Everything that creates a comfortable environment for people. The foundation of the first apartment building of the future city was laid in April 1964, and just two years later the population of Nizhnekamsk reached 30,000 people (today the population of the third largest city in Tatarstan is approaching a quarter of a million people). A rapid growth, gaining pace and strength. Few people know today what it cost the complex and the people who support it wholeheartedly. The construction of the plant itself and the city next to it almost halted several times.

“During the period from 1963 to 1965, the construction of Nizhnekamskneftekhim was closed four times by the decision of the Central Committee and the Council of Ministers. They explained that there was no money, they had to invest in agriculture or in more efficient facilities. We had to prove that sooner or later we would have to return to this construction, but with great losses," Nikolay Lemaev said in his last interview (published in the book 'Lemaev' following the publication in Persona-Exclusive newspaper, March 2000 — editor's note).

In 1965, defending once again the construction of the chemical plant, Fikryat Tabeyev with all calculations went to the reception of Brezhnev who had replaced Khrushchev.

“Unlike the 'late' Khrushchev, Brezhnev knew how to listen and listened to other people's opinions, of course, if it was reasonable and convincing," Tabeyev recalled tabeev. “With figures in my hands, I proved that there were huge reserves of raw materials in Tartary, which were being flared, and quoted the words of the genius Mendeleev that 'burning oil is like heating oven with banknotes'. I tried to convince that it would cost immeasurably more to transport hydrocarbon raw materials to other regions than to process them locally, and that we should not lose associated gas on such a huge scale but should process it on the basis of our own scientific achievements...”

Tabeyev reminded Brezhnev that it was in Soviet Russia in 1928 that outstanding chemist Sergey Lebedev developed a method for industrial production of synthetic rubber, 10 years ahead of science in Germany and 14 years ahead of the United States. Tabeyev stressed that by the end of the 1930s, four small synthetic rubber plants were operating in the USSR, including one in Kazan. He stressed that Tatarstan chemists had a huge experience and extensive scientific base, and where, if not in Tatarstan, which had all the necessary raw materials, knowledge, and technologies, to build a modern petrochemical production. Leonid Ilyich accepted all these arguments and at the next plenum of the Central Committee gave instructions to force construction in Tartary.

On September 22, 1966, the worker's settlement was granted the status of a city. This date is considered the official birthday of Nizhnekamsk. Almost a year later, on July 31, 1967, the Nizhnekamsk chemical plant shipped the products of the Central Gas Fractionating Unit (the design capacity is 750,000 tonnes a year. After reconstruction in 2012, the capacity of CGFU-1 was doubled) — the first tonnes of propane, butane, isobutane, hexane, pentane, isopentane. This event became the starting point for the history of the new complex. The first delivery of products to consumers in Omsk and Ufa took place. The first complex of the plant was built for 4 years. From 1963, six mighty rectification columns, almost 40 metres high, rose to the sky. In order for them to work successfully, cooling towers and overpasses were built, kilometres of pipes were laid, and treatment facilities for process water were built. On February 26, 1967, the first turbine generator of Nizhnekamsk CHPP was put into operation, which gave the energy needed for the petrochemical giant under construction.

In 1972, the second unit of the gas fractionating plant was also commissioned with a capacity of 750,000 tonnes a year (with an increase to 1,350 thousand tons/year by 1981), which made the enterprise the largest in Europe.

Already during the construction of the Central Gas Fractionating Unit, Lemaev saw the chemical plant as an enterprise with a closed processing chain, capable of producing monomers from a gas mixture, and from them — plastics, synthetic rubber — all that the state at that time was forced to purchase abroad.

Later, the Nizhnekamsk tyre plant appeared next to Nizhnekamskneftekhim — another link in the further processing of the chemical plant's products into the products needed by the country.

By October 1969, the number of employees of the petrochemical plant had approached 5,000 people, including almost a thousand — engineering and technical staff.

On March 31, 1970, the isoprene-monomer complex was put into operation with a design capacity of 60,000 tonnes a year (today the capacity of the complex has been increased to 330,000 tons/year). Isoprene with a 99,6% purification efficiency had not yet been produced in the USSR. In the shortest possible time, production was brought to a stable mode of operation, and by the beginning of October, the first stage of Nizhnekamskneftekhim was fully commissioned: the first briquette of isoprene rubber rolled off the line. Nizhnekamsk petrochemists were the first in the Soviet Union to produce synthetic rubber that is in no way inferior to foreign analogues and fully meets the requirements of consumers, later justified by GOST standards.

“It has been mastered the sophisticated technology for producing high-quality isoprene rubber from cheap local associated petroleum gas, which was just flared. This will improve the production of high-strength automobile tyres, as well as many other rubber products for the national economy," it was said in the greeting of the Tatar Regional Committee of the CPSU dedicated to this important event.

In an effort to expand the range of synthetic rubbers produced, the management of the Nizhnekamsk petrochemical complex negotiated the acquisition of the technology abroad. At that time, American and Canadian companies were the monopolists in this market segment. However, the negotiations were unsuccessful.

“We asked the Americans to sell us a license to produce butyl rubber. They, referring to the fact that this was a strategic product, refused us. Then we involved our institutes, developed our technology, and in 1973 received butyl rubber," Nikolay Lemaev recalled in the interview with Persona-Exclusive newspaper in March 2000.

The study of production processes was carried out by the Yaroslavl Research Institute of Monomers for Synthetic Rubber (NIIMSK). The equipment was designed by the Moscow Giprokauchuk Institute. In July 1973, the production of butyl rubber (the first in the Soviet Union and Europe) was put into operation. The commissioning and setting of the equipment took two years. By 1976, the capacities of Nizhnekamskneftekhim allowed it to produce up to 35,000 tonnes a year, which allowed to break the Сanadian-American monopoly, and the country to refuse expensive imports. By 2015, the volume of butyl rubber production at Nizhnekamskneftekhim exceeded 200,000 tonnes a year. Today, this necessary and very popular products are produced more than 220,000 tonnes a year.

On December 30, 1973, the production of two-stage divinyl was put into operation, on February 8, the first tonne of commercial product was produced, and by July 1974, the complex had reached the volume of 90,000 tonnes a year (by 1982, the production capacity increased to 130,000 tons/year).

In early November 1974, divinyl was obtained for the first time in the USSR at Nizhnekamskneftekhim by one-stage butane dehydrogenation. In the spring of 1975, this plant reached its design capacity. Moreover, two extractive rectification units were able to produce as much production as four were expected to produce.

September, 1976. The ethylene complex with a design capacity of 450,000 tonnes a year was put into operation (however, until 1998, real production volumes had not exceeded 320-350 thousand tons/year). The largest at that time in the USSR. Together with Japanese Toyo Engineering Corporation (TEC), it began to be built at the end of 1970. Simultaneously with ethylene, the complex could produce up to 200,000 tonnes of propylene and almost the same amount of benzene a year.

Launching two or three new capacities each year, Nizhnekamskneftekhim (which received this name in December 1976) quickly acquired the status of the country's flagship of the petrochemical industry. And in 1985 — the title of progressive, the first in Nizhnekamsk to introduce the automated process control system. Another 2 years later, among the first in Europe, they began the construction of alpha-olefins production.

The success of the complex was noted at the highest level. Nikolay Lemaev, the director general of Nizhnekamskneftekhim, was awarded the title of Hero of Socialist Labour in June 1980, and the production association itself was awarded the Order of Lenin in April 1981.

The petrochemical industry of the Soviet Union was actively developing, and by 1985 there had been an urgent question of the industry being headed by one of the most experienced professionals in the country. Nikolay Lemaev was first appointed as first deputy minister of oil refining and petrochemical industry of the USSR and transferred to Moscow, and in October of the same year, 1985, he was appointed as minister. Lemaev assumed the post shortly before the difficult days of perestroika. Understanding the need for change, Nikolay Lemaev was sure that the reforms could and should have been carried out with careful consideration. Not seeing himself in the new management system, he resigned in September 1990.

“He understood the need for change but did not perceive the methods by which the reforms were implemented, he was sure that they could be carried out with less losses, without destroying but creating, and he left the government. By himself, of his own free will!..” journalist Marsel Zaripov wrote in Respublika Tatarstan about Lemaev in 2001.

Nizhnekamskneftekhim itself continued to develop actively between 1985 and 1991. In 1985, by an act of the State Commission, the production of propylene trimers with a capacity of 75,000 tonnes a year was put into operation, and the production of moulded shoes was established at Elastik plant. In 1986, the production of alkyl phenols for 100,000 tonnes a year was put into operation and the second stage of the production of ethylene oxide (200,000 tonnes a year) was launched. The year 1987 was marked by that the production of surfactants with a design capacity of 250,000 tonnes a year was put into operation. And in 1990 — the production of alpha-olefins and triethylaluminium was put into operation, with a design capacity of 185,500 tonnes and 2,000 tonnes a year, respectively.

The year 1985 was a landmark for Nizhnekamskneftekhim also because that's when the Siberia-Ural-Volga Region product pipeline was commissioned, through which natural gas liquids (NGL, the mixture of liquefied gas, petrol) — the most important raw material besides naphtha — were supplied to the production sites. Before that, NGL was transported by rail. However, in 1989, an accident occurred on the product pipeline near Ufa, which led to a disaster. A cloud of volatile compounds exploded as two passenger trains were passing each other. Six hundred and forty-five people died. The tragedy also ruined the plans of the petrochemical complex for stable long-term supplies (with subsequent increase in volumes) of high-quality raw materials. The mechanism to ensure the provision wiht NGL was forced to return to the level of the early 1980, with all related problems. The projects and the construction of new production facilities had to be frozen for an indefinite period, or even completely abandoned.

From despair to hope

1991. Nizhnekamskneftekhim, like many other companies in any of the country's industries, found itself in a very difficult situation. Along with the collapse of the Soviet Union, the well-established system of public procurement and long-term state planning also became a thing of the past. The economic integration of industry collapsed. Some plants were immediately destroyed under the wave of problems, others barely kept afloat, trying to make ends meet. At that time, the state was simply unable to support the industrial complex. In order to be able to administer affairs independently, it was necessary to gain this independence.

Corporisation of the facility became an issue. This was a novelty, an unfamiliar experience for young Russia. But despite the complete absence of at least some related legislation in the country, NKNK specialists managed to prepare and defend a privatisation plan by August 1993.

The laws that were adopted at the state level later showed that the Nizhnekamsk petrochemists did everything right. They accurately evaluated all the property of the facility when privatisation was taking place, including social facilities, the economic state of plants and factories, determined the amount of authorised capital. More than 50% of the shares were distributed among the staff. Thanks to such a decision of the republican authorities and management of the enterprises, the workers of privatised factories got more rights than their colleagues in other regions of the country did — those who worked in factories and were really interested in their successful economy and development got the shares.

Thanks to the privatisation, the facility got a chance of using its profit and make plans for modernisation and further development itself. But problems arose: the economic links that were broken after the dissolution of the USSR, problems with the sale, a shortage of production and export volumes and, as a consequence, a bigger fall in economic indicators. Salaries were paid late. The drawn-out crisis led to multi-million debts. By 1996, once one of the leading enterprises of the country already owed $50 million when the rate was 4,000 non-denominated rubles per US dollar. In 1992, NKNK completed the reconstruction and modernisation of ethylene production, but the plant’s load was falling. In 1996, it hardly reached 225,000 tonnes a year. Just 128,000 tonnes of synthetic rubber instead of possible 450,000 tonnes were made. Bankruptcy was looming, and a division of NKNK into eight independent enterprises and sale of its part, in fact, the destruction the unique facility was already seriously discussed. Moreover, related documents that needed to be signed were prepared…

The republic couldn’t allow losing the petrochemical mogul — one of the pillars of the Tatarstan economy and tens of thousands of people’s place of work. And it was important to save gas and petrochemical production precisely in Tatarstan. A decision had to be taken at the top level: First President of the republic Mintimer Shaimiev interfered in the matter. He tasked TAIF with reanimating the complex that was almost on the verge of bankruptcy. It is was one of the first cases in Tatarstan’s contemporary history and probably in Russia’s history as well when a private business was invited to economically rehabilitate one of the biggest enterprises of the Fuel and Energy Complex of the country and Europe. First of all, the issue of feedstock supplies needed to be resolved. Straight-run petrol whose quality seriously differed came from different sources: from producers of Tatarstan, Bashkiria, Volga region, the Urals and Siberia.

An ELOU-AVT oil refining unit, which later became the foundation for the new enterprise of the Group — TAIF-NK, was considered to become one of the main sources of straight-run petrol that belonged to Nizhnekamskneftekhim. But in the 90s of the past century, the unit purchased in the GDR, in reality, accepted only 2,5 million tonnes, while its installed capacity for oil refining was up to 6 million tonnes. And these volumes were refined on a give-and-take basis because of which Nizhnekamskneftekhim got just bits of produced straight-run petrol. TAIF leased the unit and began its modernisation simultaneously establishing communication with Tatneft. TAIF purchased feedstock from the oil producer, refined it with its leased equipment. It sold the products to Nizhnekamsk at a low price but invested all the profit as well as borrowed money in the reconstruction of NKNK.

In 1995, Nizhnekamskneftekhim launched dicyclopentadiene concentrate production with a capacity of 5,500 tonnes a year and mastered the production of up to 30,000 tonnes of ethylene propylene rubber a year. A few years later, the production that proved to be not very profitable was frozen. However, the possibility of its launch is considered today.

But the effort that was put, the expansion of the assortment and growth of production volumes didn’t level the economic situation in the enterprise. Supplying commodities to its previous partners who turned out to be insolvent in the new realities, Nizhnekamskneftekhim’s accounts receivable only grew. And this happened amid the default in 1998. This totality could pose a threat of bankruptcy for the enterprise again.

The growing social tension had to be put out by introducing their own internal currency — cheques that could be used to purchase the essentials and foods NKNK received through a system of barter. It was necessary to make a decision to strengthen the management of the complex. During the years of crisis, in the late 90s, Nikolay Lemayev who was appointed as adviser to the Tatarstan president returned to the factory at Mintimer Shaimiev’s request and was chosen as chairman of Nizhnekamskneftekhim Board of Directors. He was familiar with the complex like anybody else, it was created and grew under his management. Lemayev could both give advice and really help with this tough task — bring the petrochemical complex back to life. He worked on this post from 1997 to his dying day. Mr Lemayev passed away on 24 December 2000.

And Vladimir Busygin was appointed as director general. He began his work history as an intern of the shop director at the Voroshilov Nitrogen Fertiliser Plant in Berezniki (one of the biggest chemical enterprises of Russia and CIS countries, today’s branch of Azot JSC of Uralchem Group in Berezniki, Perm Krai), later he worked at the 60th Anniversary of the USSR Rossosh Chemical Factory, then chaired a segment of the Severodonest sectoral production office of Orgminudobreniya group. In 1998, he occupied the post of chief engineer at the Karpov Chemical Plant. In 1992, he was appointed technical director of Mende-Russia joint Soviet-Czechoslovak venture in Mendeleyevsk. In 1995, he returned to the Karpov plant as director general and in 1999 was appointed as director general of Nizhnekamskneftekhim at TAIF’s suggestion with rich managerial experience and good knowledge of the sector and quickly earned unchallenged authority among the staff.

The business took off in 1999. “First of all, together with a team of managers, we determined the short-term prospects considering our financial possibilities, commodities and feedstock. The directorate set course for reduction and then complete elimination of barter operations when we had to pay for everything — from paper clips to electrical energy — with end products. The barter system covered almost 80% of all settlements of the company. It was a common trouble of the Russian economy then,” Vladimir Busygin shared memories of the tough period when he chaired Nizhnekamskneftekhim in the book Formula of Success printed by the 40th anniversary of the gas and petrochemical complex in 2007.

The new team of managers began to improve the state of affairs step by step. They managed to get credit on conditions that were favourable for the company. At the same time, the team of TAIF and Nizhnekamskneftekhim adopted an unprecedented anti-crisis programme to restructure and repay huge debts (overdue credit debts exceeded the factory’s yearly revenue). Mintimer Shaimiev (then-president of Tatarstan), Rustam Minnikhanov (then-Tatarstan premier minister), Albert Shigabutdinov (then-director general of TAIF JSC) and Vladimir Busygin (then-director general of Nizhnekamskneftekhim) actively participated in the detailed, step-by-step withdrawal of the complex from the economic pit as well as in talks with creditors and debtors of NKNK. Such a large-scale programme designed to restructure debts with a specific schedule of monthly payments was fulfilled for the first time in Tatarstan. The enterprise began to build and launch capacities. The production of SKD-K began precisely in 1999.

The installed capacity of the new production was 40,000 tonnes a year. But to make all plans a reality, it was necessary to use all production capacities. The main problem of that time was a shortage of feedstock — oil, natural gas liquids, naphtha because the incomplete load didn't allow reaching the highest effectiveness of production. Long-term agreements were signed with leading feedstock suppliers — Tatneft, Sibneft, LUKOIL and Gazprom. During the year, it became possible to refuse barter deals. The accumulated accounts receivable were a big problem. It was very hard to collect money from debtors, however, it became possible to partly resolve this issue. Together with the money earned by selling accumulated products, this provided a chance to look into the future with greater optimism: some money was spent to repay the six-month overdue salaries to Nizhnekamskneftekhim’s staff, some money was used to modernise equipment and purchase feedstock.

The anti-crisis programme delivered results, and NKNK ended 1999 with products sold for 14,2bn rubles (by IFRS, International Financial Reporting Standards), which is 1,5 times more than in 1998. In 2000, revenue was above 23,4bn rubles, net profit totalled almost 4,8bn (by IFRS), while export volumes to the international market accounted for 41% of the whole amount of products (in 2019, Nizhnekamskneftekhim made 2,5m tonnes of commodities. Its revenue exceeded 174bn rubles).

In the conditions when enterprises in the Russian market thought about survival than development, when demand hopelessly lagged behind supply, Nizhnekamsk completely met the needs of Russian partners, actively entered new outlets. The managers who travelled across the world had to master the art of active bulk sales to commercially sophisticated European, Asian and American companies. Export contracts allowed levelling the economic situation in the enterprise, activate repayment of accumulated debts and increase tax payments to the federal and republic treasury. Soon, standing on its own feet again, NKNK began to gradually develop the production of new high-quality goods that are in demand from the global market. Read about the period of the second blossom of the gas and petrochemical complex in the article’s continuation.

By Arseny Favstritsky