Voronezh, 23 May 2013. Russian President Vladimir Putin has visited SIBUR’s Voronezh site to witness the commissioning of a new manufacturing plant which will produce styrene-butadiene thermoplastic elastomers (TPE). These innovative polymers have many applications including in road construction where they prolong a road’s serviceable life.

The event was also attended by Andrey Belousov, Minister for the Economic Development, Alexey Gordeev, Governor of the Voronezh Region, Leonid Mikhelson, Chairman of SIBUR and Chairman of NOVATEK’s Management Board, as well as Dmitry Konov, SIBUR’s CEO.

This new facility will have a design capacity of up to 50 ktpa of polymer products,capable of meeting the rising domestic demand for thermoplastic elastomers. Currently, the Voronezh site, producing 35 ktpa of TPE, is the only TPE manufacturer in Russia and the CIS. SIBUR’s biggest TPE customers include Gazprom Neft and TechnoNICOL, with some exports to European countries such as Germany, Italy and France.

The TPE manufacturing process is the most eco-friendly polymer-making technology, with an environmental impact of next to zero.

Thermoplastic elastomers are used to produce polymer-modified asphalt cements, used in road surface construction and greatly improve the crack, heat, shear, water and frost resistance of roads. Their use extends the time between repairs from three to four years up to seven to 10 years and adds no more than 1% to construction costs, with only 2.5 years of road use required for such costs to pay off.

Polymer-modified asphalt cements represent a considerable growth opportunity in Russia. Although domestic consumption of polymer-modified asphalt cements grew by a factor of 5.6 between 2009 and 2012 and increased share in the gross domestic asphalt cement market from 1% to 3% over three years, Russia is lagging behind other countries. For example, this ratio in Germany exceeds 30%[1]. Styrene-butadiene thermoplastic elastomers are also used to produce roof coatings, composite materials, shoe materials, grouts, adhesives and sealants.

The new Voronezh manufacturing plant will increase SIBUR’s total TPE capacity to 85 ktpa. This is the equivalent of over 2 Mt of polymer-modified asphalt cements or 14,500 km of six-lane highways.

Dmitry Konov, CEO of SIBUR, said:

“The global road construction industry has recognised the value of polymers for many years. The Russian government is currently exploring ways to improve the quality of Russian roads by encouraging the use of innovative materials, including looking at amending laws and regulations. Our new modern facility has been reconfigured to meet the increase in demand for polymer products from road builders.”

The TPE manufacturing project was launched in July 2011, with investment amounting to c. RUB4.5 bn.

The TSRC Corporation (Taiwan) is the licensor of the new project, Soyuzkhimproekt (Kazan) is the general design contractor and Promstroy (Nyagan) is the general contractor.

Photos are available here.

Notes to editors:

SIBUR is a uniquely positioned vertically integrated gas processing and petrochemicals company. SIBUR owns and operates Russia’s largest gas processing business in terms of associated petroleum gas processing volumes, and is a leader in the Russian petrochemicals industry.

As of 31 December 2012, SIBUR operated 27 production sites located all over Russia, had over 1,500 major customers engaged in the energy, automotive, construction, fast moving consumer goods (FMCG), chemical and other industries in approximately 60 countries worldwide and employed over 31,000 personnel.

As well as thermoplastic elastomers for the road construction sector, SIBUR also produces polymer-modified geosynthetics. Use of these materials extend the time between repairs and equalise the loading intensity and prevent ruts and potholes. These materials also serve a variety of purposes such as reinforcement, separation, filtration, drainage, protection, and water proofing of pavement layers. The average economic benefit of geosynthetics amounts to RUB 500,000 per km of road.

[1] Based on data by EAPA & Eurobitume