Polypropylene is becoming increasingly popular in Russia. Over the past five years, consumption of this polymer has increased by 78.5%, according to figures published by the German Office for Foreign Trade (bfai, Cologne; www.bfai.de).
In 2005 alone, the market grew by 34% compared with the previous year to 405,900 t, data published by Russian market research company Creon (Moscow; www.creon-online.ru) show. The large increase is attributed to rapidly rising demand
in the packaging industry, such as film production, and from the automotive industry. In future, Russian demand for PP is expected to be boosted by orders from manufacturers of manmade fibres. The country?s three manufacturers - Moskowikij (Moscow), Tomskij (Tomsk) and Polypropylen (Ufa) - are all currently
operating at full capacity. Each has a maximum output of 100,000 t/y, yielding a national annual capacity of 300,000 t/y of fibres, but Creon sees no current expansion plans in the sector. Around a third of Russias PP requirements currently must be imported. According to provisional figures, 136,370 t of the
polymer was supplied by foreign companies in 2005 - about twice as much as in the previous year. As demand is unlikely to diminish in the near future, imports will continue to be needed. A number of Russian companies are mulling plans for building new PP plants. Nishnekamskneftechim (NKNC, Nishnekamsk) is talking about future capacity of 180,000 t/y and Stavrolen (Budjon nowsk, Kraj) about 100,000 t/y. Titan (Omsk) is rumoured to be planning a new 180,000 t/y plant, Tobolksneftechim (Tobolsk, Oblast Tjumen) a 250,000 t/y unit and Astrachangazprom (Oblast Astrachan) is said to be considering a 300,000 t/y plant.
Creon regards the Tobolksneftechim plans as unrealistic. Nevertheless, adding up the output planned by the other companies, the researchers say it seems likely that Russian production capacity could well increase to 1.16m t/y in the next few years.