BELGIAN GIANT SOLVAY S.A. INVESTS IN THE NIZHNY NOVGOROD REGION
Global demand for surfactants is expected to double by 2030, according to Oleochemicals Report 2012. The expected increase is mainly attributed to the rise in the standard of living in developing countries, where the use of surfactants is spreading rapidly. The Asian and Russian markets in particular are expected to expand more quickly than the others. According to Frost & Sullivan, demand for surfactants in Russia is currently growing at around 6% per annum.
The surfactant industry is huge and extremely dynamic. Surfactants, or synthetic surface active substances, know a variety of applications, as performance ingredients in formulae for detergents and personal care products, and in the oil and gas industry, to name just a couple.
In 2012 the Belgian chemicals group Solvay S.A. and the Russian gas processing and petrochemicals giant Sibur formed a joint venture, RusPAV, for the production of surfactants and oilfield process chemicals in the Nizhny Novgorod Region, 400km east of Moscow. Construction of a world-class surfactants plant at the site is underway, and it is expected that it will be completed by the year 2015.
Sibur is to provide RusPAV with raw materials (specifically ethylene oxide), logistics and production capabilities, as well as its experience of the Russian petrochemicals market. Solvay brings its expertise in surfactant technologies, its knowledge of formulae and market applications and its global customer network.
RusPAV is based near Sibur’s petrochemicals operations centre in Dzerzhinsk and operates in line with the concept of petrochemical clusters, newly adopted and being developed in Russia. Cluster development has recently become one of the main criteria for a chemical project’s feasibility. The idea of locating an enterprise close to the source of raw materials is becoming increasingly popular in Russia.
The Volga Region cluster is highly efficient due to the close proximity of petrochemicals and oil processing businesses in the region, an arrangement that makes it possible to produce various polymers such as EPS, PVC and PET effectively, and enables integrated facilities to be constructed at the site, thus minimizing logistical costs. For instance, in the Volga Region cluster, where Sibur has two plants – SIBUR-Neftekhim and SIBUR-Kstovo – the company is expanding its ethylene capacities and constructing a major PVC plant (JV with SolVin).
According to the governor of Nizhny Novogorod, Valery Shantsev, the region will see 100 million euros going into the construction of the plant, and will bring hundreds of new jobs into the area. The appeal of the Nizhny Novgorod Region is its smoothly functioning investment infrastructure, developed in the region to better address stakeholders’ interests. The Investment Council, headed by the Governor Valeri Shantsev, authorizes funding projects, while the regional Ministry of Investment Policy adopts a ‘one stop shop’ service that enables multiple procedures between the authorities and investors to be carried out on the spot. These transparent methods of communication with investors facilitate prompt decision-making on projects of this kind.
In response to all this activity, an increasing number of global players are joining the investors’ club in the Nizhny Novgorod Region – and the Belgian company Solvay is among them.