Based on article published in the March/April edition of European Rubber Journal magazine.
London –Sibur is looking to develop its synthetic rubber (SR) business in the Middle East part as part of its global expansion programme, according to Dmitry Konov, CEO of the Russian energy and petrochemicals group.
Moscow-based Sibur is in early-stage talks with Saudi Armaco to establish a JV based on its rubber manufacturing technology, said Konov during a recent press conference in London.
The Saudi group is already in two ventures involving SR production: Arlanxeo, with Lanxess; and Petro Rabigh with Sumitomo Chemical.
With Aramco “actively [increasing] refining capacity at the moment, feedstock is available. They don’t have the market but are geographically or logistically close to markets for these products,” the Sibur chairman explained.
While the talks are still at an early stage, Konov said they could lead to “a broader JV, with other technologies and products than just [those of] Sibur and Saudi Aramco.”
The Russian company also announced that it was continuing to mothball a JV project to build a 50ktpa nitrile rubber plant with Sinopec in China, as the partners do not see enough demand for the material at the moment.
The two companies already jointly run a 40ktpa nitrile rubber plant in Kransoyarsk, Russia.
In India, Sibur is, this year, hoping to start-up a new 120ktpa butyl rubber plant as a JV with Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL). The project will use feedstock from RIL’s integrated Jamnagar 3 (J3) cracker/petrochemicals site, which has recently been fully commissioned.
Sibur expects to “complete the construction” of the butyl rubber plant in late 2018, said Konov, who noted: “Our project is at the very end of the Jamnagar expansion, so we are the last to get feedstock from the cracker. We really hope we will be able to start up by the end of the year.”
Construction of an associated halobutyl rubber unit was launched in autumn 2017, and is scheduled to come on-stream after the butyl rubber facility.
Konov, however, declined to give a target start-up date for the second unit, which will change site's capacity profile to: 60ktpa halobutyl rubber and 60ktpa butyl rubber.