Public Hearings on Potential Investment Project Held in Tobolsk

The Russian office of Environmental Resources Management (ERM), a leading global provider of environmental, health and industrial safety consulting services, was contracted to assess the environmental impact.

The assessment report confirms that the activities planned under the project comply with Russia’s regulations on environmental and social matters, and potential effect of construction and operations of the facility would remain within the limits established by law, without any material impact on the environment and people’s health.

“International practice shows that similar polymer production facilities can be located in densely populated areas and operate without any noticeable impact on the environment or local residents,” said Alexander Beloshapkov, Technical Director of the ERM project. “Technology provided by global leaders – Linde Engineering, INEOS, LyondellBasell – will ensure reliability and safety of the proposed new plant.”

Among the speakers at the hearings were representatives of the municipal administration of Tobolsk and regional administration of the Tyumen Region, office of Rospotrebnadzor (Russian Federal Consumer Rights Protection and Human Welfare Supervisor) in the Tyumen Region, academic and industrial communities, and SIBUR.

The panelists noted ERM’s thorough approach to environmental risks analysis and stressed the importance of construction of the plant for the entire region – it would promote business activity, tax payments, creation of new jobs, and infrastructure development.

Igor Lomakin, Deputy Director for Science, Tobolsk Integrated Research Station (the Urals Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences), reminded the participants that back in the Soviet years, it had been planned to build a series of petrochemical sites in Tobolsk, including a natural gas processing plant, a butadiene plant, three polymer plants, a thermoplastic elastomer plant, and an oil refinery. “We can now implement some of those projects using cutting-edge technologies that have been developed over these thirty years,” Igor Lomakin said.

Experts noted that SIBUR pays considerable attention to its environmental footprint and safety of its facilities. Data of the State Hydrometeorological Centre, Federal Service for Supervision of Natural Resources, and independent monitoring show that the status of the environment both in the city, and around the Tobolsk industrial site, is sustainable. In particular, Tobolsk had not seen air pollution in excess of the maximum allowable concentration since 2008, Yulia Raspopova, Head of Registration and Licensing Unit, (the Tyumen Region Office of Rospotrebnadzor), said.

Lyudmila Sheshukova, Dean of the Faculty of Biology and Chemistry, Tobolsk State Social and Pedagogical Academy, added, “We can compare the data on Tobolsk and other large cities in the Tyumen Region. In Tobolsk, the integral air pollution index is two points, whereas in larger cities of Western Siberia and the Urals it reaches or even exceeds nine points. All the indicators measured prove that the environmental status in Tobolsk is good.”

The panelists were also concerned about potential influence of the plant on the adjoining territories, in particular, on the Abalak historic and natural site. Alexander Beloshapkov said that the production facility to be built would not have any impact on that area. It is planned to introduce a special monitoring policy to confirm the absence of any such impact.

Independent observers expressed a high opinion of SIBUR’s efforts in protecting the environment and reducing its ecological footprint. According to the independent Russian Carbon Fund, 460 hectares of forests planted in the city of Tobolsk at SIBUR’s initiative will absorb 450,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide and produce 330,000 tonnes of oxygen over the next 70 years.

Questions put by local residents to representatives of ZapSibNefteKhim, authorities, and independent experts mainly referred to the environmental status of the city, the impact of the proposed project on the environment and people’s health, and labour migration.

All questions, comments, and suggestions received in the course of the public hearings will be summarised and included in the environmental impact assessment report to be used in further designing.

General information:

SIBUR considers environmental and industrial safety and people’s health to be an integral part of the Company’s business, and an area of strategic priority.

All new production facilities of SIBUR are designed in strict compliance with its Environmental Policy. Main goals of the Environmental Policy are to implement cutting-edge R&D practices and new technologies, meet the world’s benchmarks in terms of environmental safety, and reduce emissions and discharges. The Company also invests a lot of effort in maintaining a dialogue with local communities to discuss environment protection measures it takes.

The ZapsibNefteKhim project in Tobolsk may involve construction of several new plants.

By now, licence agreements and FEED contracts for all units of the new plant have been signed, with LINDE AG contracted to provide FEED for the pyrolysis production, INEOS chosen as the licensor of polyethylene production units, and TECHNIP appointed to prepare FEED documents for the project. LyondellBasell became the licensor of polypropylene production units. ThyssenKrupp Uhde was engaged to prepare FEED documents. NIPIgaspererabotka, a leading engineering centre for gas processing operations in Russia, was awarded a contract to design utilities, infrastructure, and offsites of the new facility.
Once the project is implemented, global leaders’ technologies deployed will ensure reliability and safety of the new plant. International practice shows that similar facilities can be located in densely populated areas and operate without any noticeable impact on the environment and local residents.

Both existing and intended hydrocarbon deep processing facilities at the Tobolsk site are aimed to contribute to reducing APG waste.
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