LONDON—Sibur is looking to develop its synthetic rubber business in the Middle East as part of its global expansion program, 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 already is in two ventures involving SR production: One being Lanxess, with Arlanxeo, and the other being 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," Konov said.
While the talks are in the early stages, 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 50,000 metric ton per year 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 40,000 metric ton per year nitrile rubber plant in Kransoyarsk, Russia.
In India this year, Sibur is hoping to commission a new butyl rubber plant with 120,000 tons of annual capacity as a JV with Reliance Industries Ltd. 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 construction on the butyl rubber plant in late 2018, according to Konov.
"Our project is at the very end of the Jamnagar expansion, so we are the last to get feedstock from the cracker," he said. "We really hope we will be able to start up by the end of the year."
Construction of an associated 60,000 ton halobutyl unit was launched in the autumn of 2017, and it 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.