Sibur and Sinopec in Rubber/Copolymer JVs

20.09.2019 -

Major Russian petrochemicals and plastics producer Sibur and Chinese state-owned conglomerate Sinopec have signed two separate production joint ventures, one for nitrile butadiene rubber (NBR) and the other for styrene, ethylene and butene-based block copolymers (SEBS).

In the first deal, the two companies will build a 50,000 t/y NBR plant in China. Sinopec will have a 60% stake in the jv, while Sibur will hold 40%.

“This memorandum comes as a result of the earlier negotiations between Sibur and Sinopec around the NBR production project. We have resumed our efforts to set up a jv on the back of strong consumer demand for NBR in China, and we plan to leverage this opportunity to expand our business in the growing market,” said Pavel Lyakhovich, member of the management board and managing director at Sibur. “The combined expertise of Sibur and Sinopec will help the jv gain a strong foothold in both Russia and China, as well as in other geographies.”

NBR has high resistance to aggressive agents and is used in a variety of fuel and oil-resistant industrial rubber products. Applications include seals, hoses, bag fuel tanks, conveyor belts for food production and rubberized textile fabrics designed for aggressive environments.

Under the other framework agreement, the firms will set up a 50:50 jv in Russia to build an SEBS plant, producing at least 20,000 t/y.

Lyakhovich said that according to various estimates, global SEBS consumption is between 200,000-270,000 t/y, adding 5-7% each year. He added that Russia has to import SEBS because it has no local production.

SEBS is a pelletized modifier for thermoplastics used to impart elasticity to plastic material or as a polymer to produce elastic components. Its various end markets include plastics, bitumen modification, adhesives, modification compounds and toys.

In separate news, Sibur subsidiary JSC Sibur-Neftehim has signed an agreement to license Sulzer GTC Technology’s pygas processing technologies for a benzene plant modernization.

The project at Sibur’s Kstovo olefins plant near Nizhniy Novgorod, Russia, will see the upgraded facility serve as a hub for processing pygas from several of the company’s facilities, allowing the production of high-purity benzene with the lowest cash cost, also recovering non-aromatics to be used as cracker feedstock.

Sulzer GTC will design a unit based on its GT-BTX technology, which uses extractive distillation to remove benzene, toluene and xylene from various streams. The US-based firm will also revamp the existing pygas fractionation unit, the first and second stage hydrotreating units and the thermal hydrodealkylation unit to process additional feed.

The contract includes the supply of basic engineering, technical services, proprietary catalyst, solvent and equipment.