Tue, Aug 18, 2020 – 3:29 PM
[MOSCOW] Russia’s privately held Sibur petrochemical company on Tuesday began construction on one of the world’s largest polymer-producing plants in the country’s far east, targeting the Chinese and broader Asian markets, it said in a statement.
Russian energy companies, led by Sibur, have been increasingly shifting their focus to petrochemicals in a drive to capitalise on the fast-growing sector and offset the volatile market for crude oil exports.
Sibur said it estimates that demand in China for polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP), found in everything from grocery bags to medical goods and automobile dashboards, is rising by over 6 per cent annually.
The Asian giant accounts for more than 30 per cent of global polyethylene demand and imports nearly half of its PE supplies from the Middle East, South Korea, Taiwan, Southeast Asia and the United States, according to IHS Markit.
The Amur Gas Chemical Complex, with investments of up to US$11 billion, is set to start producing 2.3 million tonnes of polyethylene and 400,000 tonnes of polypropylene per year beginning in 2024-2025.
China’s Sinopec is set to take a 40 per cent stake in the complex, while Linde, Univation Technologies and Chevron Phillips and LyondellBasell have joined Sibur in the construction of the complex as “technological partners.”
Sibur said earlier this month it could turn to Russia’s National Wealth Fund to help finance the Amur Gas Chemical Complex.
Russian gas giant Gazprom will supply the plant with liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and ethane as the feedstock for production of polymers, with LPG being the by-product of pipeline natural gas supplies to China that Russia started in December.