Russian consumption of expandable polystyrene (EPS) grew during 2012 by 13% to 158,600 tonnes with increased domestic production accounting for a significantly greater share of the market.
EPS production in Russia was up 80% last year reaching a level of 89,790 tonnes. A major factor changing the market balance was a doubling of capacity to 100,000 tpa at the Sibur-Khimprom plant in Perm, Russia in October 2012, according to a regional report by Market Research Company (MRC).
The study showed that imports of the polymer last year fell to 54% of the annual consumption compared with a share of 65% of national consumption during 2011.
Due to the Perm capacity rise, Russian EPS exports also grew significantly in 2012 to 16,720 tpa from just 1,930 tpa the year before. EPS sold abroad by Sibur-Khimprom went chiefly to the Ukrainian market.
The Sibur group subsidiary accounted for 75% of domestic EPS production last year turning out 67,570 tonnes. Rosneft group's Angarsk Polymer Plant in southern Siberia produced 13,500 tonnes representing a 15% share and another Sibur offshoot, Plastik Uzlovaya had output of 8,720 tonnes or 10%, according to MRC.
Last October, Sibur-Khimprom launched its second 50,000 tpa Alphapor brand EPS line at Perm, representing the completion of Sibur's styrene production chain there comprising ethyl benzene, styrene and expandable polystyrene units. The group invested more than €101m in EPS capacity alone.
Sibur is the largest gas and petrochemicals company in Russia, which owns and operates about 27 production sites and employs about 31,800 people. It is also one of the largest manufacturers in the plastics and organic synthesis sectors.