‘We should reach carbon neutrality by 2050’

Attendees of 2021 Tatarstan Gas and Petrochemical Forum will discuss how to decarbonise the republic’s economy

This year, Tatarstan Gas and Petrochemical Forum will gather as many participants as it did in pre-COVID-19 times, said representatives of the republican Ministry of Industry and Trade. After Tatarstan President Rustam Minnikhanov’s recent criticism for a delay in the preparation for the key republican sectoral event, organisers of the forum convened journalists to tell them about the main topics of the forum, its guests and, most importantly, the readiness for the event. Herman Gref and Alexander Novak as well as famous foreign scientists are expected among VIP guests. A reduction in the carbon footprint in the atmosphere thanks to Tatarstan’s Fuel and Energy Complex are among the major topics for discussion. So the republic will make its contribution to the fight against global warming.

2021 Tatarstan Gas and Petrochemical Forum on two sites

One of the novelties of this year’s Tatarstan Gas and Petrochemical Forum is that it will have two sites at once. If Kazan Fair and Kazan Expo competed for the right to hosting the event earlier, now they split the right.

Vice Director of Kazan Expo Igor Astafyev said that the exposition of the forum turned out great despite the pandemic: “Together with Kazan Fair, we managed to double its area of 10,000 square metres.” He also noted that the business programme managed to be filled “together with partners” and specified: “We are co-organisers, and this experience is new to us.”

Lyubov Akhmanayeva, vice head of Kazan Fair, explained that the exhibition of the forum will take place in partners’ two pavilions, there would be a lot of new participants, the official website has already been launched. She talked about the schedule of the forum (mainly from 10 to 17 o’clock) and the timetable of shuttles that will run from Pobedy Prospekt to Kazan Expo.

Ministry of Industry and Trade: there would be as many forum attendees as there were before COVID-19

Vice Minister of Industry and Trade of Tatarstan Alexey Savelchev became the main speaker of the press conference. His boss had to listen to the president’s remarks this July after a speech of head of Kazan Fair Lev Semyonov who reported on a delay in the preparation for the forum. Semyonov complained about additional costs and attendees’ low activity in booking exhibition areas. He also offered to sign an agreement with the Ministry of Industry and Trade for at least three years and fix the dates, site of the forum and the operator of the exhibition there.

Savelchev decided not to comment on Semyonov’s words only assured the audience that the forum would be on time, disruptions, while there would be as many guests as there were in pre-pandemic times. Even foreign guests will come despite COVID-19-related restrictions: there is a pool of guests not only from Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan but also from Turkey, Germany, Norway, Canada and France. This is conditioned by the environmental focus of the 2021 forum’s agenda, the forum is dedicated to decarbonisation and reduction in the carbon footprint.

“We are expecting more than 3,000 attendees offline and the same number online as it usually happens. Over 500 companies in general will send their participants to the forum. The exhibition includes 150-200 companies. A big area is used. A third of the guests are new members,” Savelchev said.

Sberbank’s CEO and expert in decarbonisation Herman Gref, Vice Premier of Russia Alexander Novak, executives of related Russian ministries are among the expected speakers. There will be events held by Gazprom, particularly on Gas Fuel Gasification. The Tatarstan office of the Russian Anti-Monopoly Service will also host its seminar at Kazan Expo.

“The forum is, first of all, a site for communication so that experts can talk. Secondly, companies can demonstrate their novelties. Thirdly, we will host a forum on decarbonisation to consequently make a decision that will be used for further regulatory documents. Messages will be formalised and registered,” Savelchev explained. “We will host an open plenary session for the first time where young scientists and students of our universities will openly report and share proposals with colleagues. This is an initiative of Kazan Expo and the Tatarstan Ministry of Industry and Trade.”

How to decarbonise Tatarstan’s economy

As vice head of Tatneft’s Tatarstan geological exploration office Tatiana Gilyazova noted, earlier, the company’s conference was first of all geological, but now its format will be a bit different:

“Since we are going to touch on decarbonisation issues this time, the conference will be rather economic, while the team of guests is big. Academic science will be present. Our conference will last for two days, one of the round-table talks will totally be devoted to decarbonisation. Today we are in front of a new green course and the necessity of changing the paradigm of the Fuel and Energy Complex,” she claimed.

Decarbonisation started to be brought up regularly, especially during the changes in global climate we have seen in the last few years. For instance, the anomalously hot summer makes both world leaders and participants in world forums, including the World Economic Forum, pay attention to the problem of global warming. The topicality of decarbonisation of energy systems increased after the Paris Agreement came into force in 2016. Decarbonisation of the economy itself envisages a fall in CO2 emissions per unit of GDP (tonne/US dollar/capita), while decarbonisation of the economy of the energy system implies the reduction in CO2 emissions per energy unit (kg/barrel).

As the effect of global climate change is associated with a rise in CO2 in the air.

Carbon neutrality in 29 years

According to Tatiana Gilyazova, at this year’s forum in Kazan, sides and speakers are going to make a decision on decarbonisation of the Tatarstan economy and energy sector. And this decision will be sent to the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the republican president, it will become mandatory for all Tatarstan companies.

“We gathered scientists and academicians this year, economists and not only geologists to create a decarbonisation course for Tatarstan,” explained Gilyazova. “We should raise the problem for companies, regions and decide with joint efforts. The problem is tabled around the world, it is already adopted, it is a new trend, and our country should also solve the problem. We should reach carbon neutrality in Russia by 2050.”

This term means a company or sector cut emissions of carbon dioxide and its analogues in their activity to zero or compensated for these emissions with carbon-neutral projects.

“This is the course of Russia’s administration,” added Alexey Savelchev. “I think in Tatarstan we are ready for decarbonisation challenges. A taskforce that discusses problems linked with carbon neutrality was created in the Tatarstan Ministry of Environment. Such a group in Tatarstan was one of the first to appear in Russia.”

Sergey Afanasyev