A construction site in the Amur Region saw the sinking of the first test pile in the foundation of Amur Gas Chemical Complex, a facility set to become one of the world’s largest and most advanced basic polymer producers. The official ceremony was held online and was attended via video conference by Mikhail Mishustin, Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, relevant Ministers, Vasily Orlov, Governor of the Amur Region, Dmitry Konov, Chairman of the Management Board at Sibur Holding, and other representatives of government authorities, the Company and its partners.
The Amur GCC project envisages construction of a basic polymer production facility with a total capacity of 2.7 mtpa (2.3 mtpa of polyethylene and 400 ktpa of polypropylene). The facility will feature a unique and the world's largest cracking unit for the first-stage processing of incoming feedstock.
Amur GCC will be launched in synch with the gradual ramp-up of Gazprom's Amur Gas Processing Plant to its full capacity, so that the latter could supply ethane and LPG to Amur GCC for processing into high value-added products. The completion of construction and commissioning is scheduled for 2024–2025. Once in operation, Amur GCC will give a major boost to the growth of non-commodity exports, as Amur GCC’s polymer production capacity is 1.35 times higher than total polymer exports in 2019.
China's Sinopec, the world’s largest petrochemical company, is expected to become Sibur’s partner under this project. As a national leader of the oil and gas processing industry, Sinopec boasts an extensive distribution network in China for oil and gas products of varying processing levels. This country remains the key driver behind global polymer consumption growth and is a target market for Amur GCC.
Most on-site preparations at AMUR GCC have been accomplished. Contracts for detail design and equipment and materials supplies for the facility’s key process units have been signed and are being fulfilled. Sibur’s technology partners are Linde and NIPIgaspererabotka (cracking units), Univation Technologies and Chevron Phillips (ethylene polymerisation) and LyondellBasell (propylene polymerisation). NIPIgaspererabotka will be responsible for project management, procurement and construction of off-site facilities. Where unique foreign licensed equipment is not required, the project will source up to 80% of supplies locally – the highest reliance on local procurement among major gas chemical projects in Russia. Moreover, supplies such as metal structures, construction materials, laboratory and remote control equipment are all intended to come exclusively from local manufacturers.
“This is one of the largest investment projects in Russia that brings strategic benefits to the gas industry and the country at large. In a very short span of time, Russia's Amur Region will see the opening of a giant factory with most advanced production techniques based on modern IT and telecommunications technologies. Launching these technologies is an investment in the future. We are forging new growth paths for the Amur Region, giving an impetus to the local economy. I am confident that the project will create thousands of high-tech jobs and drive the development of the transport and social infrastructure in the region. This will not only boost the economy, but will make the life of people in this beautiful place more comfortable. Building a gas chemical complex will unleash new opportunities for the region and coupled with the opening of a gas processing plant will surely create a multiplier effect for the economy,” said Mikhail Mishustin.
“Amur GCC that we are laying the foundation for today is a world-class project of high strategic importance to our region. It will create a multiplier effect, improving the image of the region, attracting investment, contributing to the region's GDP and generating tax revenues for budgets of all levels, as well as facilitating the development of related and associated industries and social infrastructure. As a highly resource-intensive project this facility will increase the number of jobs at both construction and post-commissioning stages. With a new gas chemical cluster in place, students and graduates will have a wider choice of careers to pursue. This will help us curb talent outflow and offer the youth new digital professions and opportunities for well-paid interesting jobs in the Russian Far East,” said Vasily Orlov.
“Amur GCC is another step forward towards transforming SIBUR into a global-level petrochemical company. 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. 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,” said Dmitry Konov.
In addition to Amur GCC, the nation's largest gas processing and gas-chemical cluster will be created in the Russian Far East to boost the region's development. What makes the project even more important is the fact it is a stepping stone to unlocking the country’s huge non-commodity export potential. Deep conversion of ethane, a key feedstock for Amur GCC, quadruples the added value of the resulting product. By 2040, this project is expected to increase non-commodity exports by RUB 4.6 tn. The significant role of the project is acknowledged by the agreement to make Amur GCC a resident of the Svobodny Priority Development Area that was signed by Alexei Vereshchagin, CEO of Amur GCC LLC, and Dmitry Tetenkin, Director General of the Far East Development Corporation JSC.
Amur GCC will be the world’s first petrochemical complex to implement a remote control room. The project will benefit from over 150 digital and automated solutions and 24/7 remote monitoring and control of most process operations. Amur GCC is set to become an example of the most advanced solutions in engineering data management, with all technical documents, engineering data and the 3D model being aligned and available in just one click. The project data will be accumulated and made accessible both at the construction stage and during operation for future refurbishments, modernisations, repairs and maintenance.
In line with Sibur's Sustainability Strategy, Amur GCC will employ state-of-the-art processes such as smokeless flaring and using renewable energy sources where possible, both of which are now emerging as new trends gaining traction in the global petrochemical industry while the world seeks to reduce carbon footprint.