FAQ on SIBUR’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak
SIBUR works consistently and proactively to tackle COVID-19 and its consequences. The Company is placing major emphasis on protecting its employees and partners, as it seeks to maintain the highest level of customer service and meet the increased demand for materials used in medical products and safe packaging.
The safety of our employees and partners is at the centre of the Company’s pandemic response.
SIBUR established a special centre coordinating measures to fight off the coronavirus, including through comprehensive monitoring and interaction with government agencies, and instructed the Sustainability Committee to develop a response strategy.
What steps is the Company taking to stop the spread of the coronavirus?
SIBUR prioritises the health and safety of its employees. That is why we, in addition to compliance with recommendations of Rospotrebnadzor and the WHO, make extra efforts to prevent the coronavirus from spreading in the Company’s production facilities and offices.
On 10 March, SIBUR restricted, and on 16 March completely cancelled business trips of its employees. In addition, we urge our employees to refrain from personal trips outside of their home region. We have implemented a ban on such large-scale events as in-house sessions, training workshops, conferences, and customer events, cancelled all meetings with external counterparties, courier visits, and working meetings involving more than five employees..
Employees who travelled abroad after 1 March or are in close contact with those who did became subject to special guidelines regarding access to offices and production facilities and were required to self-isolate for 14 days upon return.
From 18 March to 30 April 2020 (and maybe longer), SIBUR employees are required to work from home. Employees from the Company's corporate headquarters and part of daytime workers from production facilities in the regions worst hit by the coronavirus can be sent to work from home with 100% pay retained as long as this move does not affect the stability and management of production processes. We readily employ a variety of available digital tools enabling remote control over production processes. Internal and external communications have not been affected remaining as efficient as previously.
We have instructed all our employees on how to prevent infection. Across our sites, we have introduced toughened personal hygiene requirements for employees and visitors along with mandatory health check measures. The Company's offices and facilities have been provided with more disinfectants and air purifiers.
For employees engaged in the continuous production of supplies for strategically important industries, including the healthcare sector, SIBUR has introduced a shift-camp work model, which is in line with the medical guidance. With their full agreement, employees are transitioned to live and work at on-site shift camps, with shifts rotating every two weeks. Before joining a shift, all staff members are tested for coronavirus. All of them, including heads of production units, who have tested negative are isolated from the outside world with their consent to live and work in a special safety environment created on site. The facilities available to them include dormitories, canteens offering three-time meals at the Company’s expense, convenience stores, recreational areas and first aid posts. Those joining shift camps will see their monthly remuneration increase by 20%.
To support its shift workers, the Company launched a dedicated webpage offering leisure time and personal development tips and helping employees to fill their free time after work. You can use the webpage to take virtual tours of famous museums in Russia and other countries, watch Bolshoi Theatre ballet performances broadcast online, listen to beautiful music, watch sports events or films in online cinemas, read books, choose a workout routine, play chess, do logical problems or tests, and take a corporate training course or a personal development webinar. On top of that, the Company purchases additional household appliances as required by employees (including washing machines and TV sets), puts in place dedicated areas for sports by providing tennis tables, treadmills and other sports equipment, and arranges recreational zones with Wi-Fi and board games.
All of the Company’s sites now have Family Support Centres, with volunteers from among the Company’s employees helping the shift workers’ families to buy and safely deliver food, medicines, household chemicals or pet products, and to fix problems at home. A request for assistance can be filed to the Centre by a shift worker or their family using e-mail, the hotline, or the website request form.
What is your view on the situation in the Company’s key markets? How do you assess your business position and development prospects given the current macroenvironment? What steps is the Company taking?
Falling oil prices primarily put LPG and naphtha under pressure, but have limited impact on petrochemicals. We are seeing lower demand in Europe, our key export market, due to the quarantine. SIBUR is getting prepared to diversify its logistics in order to redistribute supplies among the regions, if necessary. The decline in naphtha prices leads to wider spreads in petrochemical markets, despite only a marginal drop in prices. Logistics bottlenecks caused by the quarantine may disrupt supplies for polyolefin processors in Europe. Several processing plants have already been reported to shut down. The largest tyre manufacturers have suspended operations at some of their production sites. As demand in Asian markets remains strong, we have an opportunity to redirect most of our chemical exports to Asia. We are seeking ways to support both our own sales and the sales of our customers.
In the medium and long term, as ZapSibNeftekhim reaches its design capacity to become one of the most competitive facilities globally, the Company will focus more on petrochemicals, which, coupled with higher domestic feedstock consumption, will partly offset negative midstream performance. Our long-term strategy to expand polymer capacity (including the launch of ZapSibNeftekhim as its apex) proved to be effective, as enhanced internal consumption of gas processing products and higher polymer output help offset negative effects from the decline in oil prices. The Company's polymer business makes our product sales and supply routes more flexible; besides, the crisis has enhanced the demand for polymers, therefore we will keep developing this segment.
Additionally, we are optimising the investment programme budget for 2020–2021, reducing expenses on third-party services, redistributing feedstock mix for a number of our facilities, as well as employing other initiatives.
SIBUR will continue working seamlessly, maintain process discipline and customer service quality. In this economic environment, the Company’s actions seek to support sustainability.
Are you witnessing a stronger demand for some of your products because they are used in the production of medical equipment and supplies (protective clothing, gloves, etc.)? What steps are you taking to meet this demand? What is your forecast?
The Company increases its production of polymers, including polypropylene, to ensure supply of high-quality disposable PPE to healthcare facilities. The prices for medical grade polymers are kept at their minimum levels. We also expand cooperation with producers of medical supplies to support high utilisation of their capacities and help drive their production growth. SIBUR invests in developing a feedstock base for import substitution of medical products in order to meet the nation-wide need for disposable PPE.
SIBUR invests in developing polymers with antimicrobial activity for the food and medical industries. Research on improving the antimicrobial properties of polymers carried out jointly with Russia's leading industry-related institutes looks very promising amid the pandemic.
What does the Company do on the national and regional levels?
To support the regions of operation, the Company will provide over 40,000 epidemiological kits required by healthcare facilities. On top of anti-crisis aid, SIBUR decided to continue the Formula for Good Deeds charitable programme, keeping its scope intact. The Company works together with its partners and grantees to transform 2020 projects and ensure their successful implementation while abiding by the strict safety requirements for organisers and attendees.
SIBUR is also considering additional steps to support the regions across its footprint.