Russian SIBUR breaks ground on Amur GCC project, looks to China

Author: Morgan Condon

2020/08/18

LONDON (ICIS)--SIBUR has started construction works on what is expected to be the largest cracker in the world in the Amur region of Russia, the petrochemicals company announced on Tuesday.

The Amur Gas Chemical Complex (GCC) is expected to have capacity of 2.3m tonnes/year of polyethylene (PE) and 400,000 tonnes/year of polypropylene (PP), expected to come online for 2024-25.

Production at the site will use ethane and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) feedstock from the Gazprom Amur Gas Processing Plant.

The site is strategically located in the region to serve buyers in China, with capacity 1.35 times higher than its total polymer exports in 2019.

Chinese chemicals giant Sinopec is tipped to become a partner on this project as it “boasts an extensive distribution network in China for oil and gas products of varying processing levels,” according to SIBUR.  The firm is expected to take up to a 40% stake in the project.

Foundations were laid as Russian Prime Minister Vasily Orlov and other government officials attended the virtual ceremony following the financial investment decision was held in March to consider the project.

SIBUR has already partnered with Univation Technologies and Chevron Phillips on the ethylene polymerisation, LyondellBasell on the propylene polymerisation and Linde and NIPIgaspererabotka on the cracking units.

NIPIgaspererabotka are also responsible for project management, procurement and offsite facilities.

The project aims to source up to 80% of supplies locally, making it the most domestically-reliant GCC in Russia.

“The complex will be a key project in SIBUR’s investment programme for the next five years and upon commissioning will almost double our basic polymer production capacities, even taking into account ZapSibNeftekhim that is currently ramping up to the full-scale output level,” said SIBUR CEO said Dmitry Konov.

“Long-term forecasts for petrochemicals demand, proximity to the sales markets and a well thought out feedstock base give us confidence that Amur GCC will be a highly effective and competitive business that will help SIBUR gain a strong foothold in both Russia and globally.”

The site will be the first petrochemical complex globally to implement a remote-control room, will benefit from more than 150 digital and automated solutions and 24/7 remote monitoring and control for some operations.

In a bid to meet SIBUR’s sustainability targets, smokeless flares will be used at the plant and renewable energy will be used where possible to reduce emissions made in production.

Thumbnail picture: SIBUR's corporate headquarters in Moscow, Russia (source: SIBUR).