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21.02.2007  
  “Kommersant” newspaper, T. Korneeva, L. Mirgazieva  
 

Bitumen produced in Nizhnekamsk to lay a road to China // The Republic discusses joint venture possibilities with Kazakhstan


 
  Yesterday, OJSC “TAIF-NK” announced the start-up of the first line of road bitumen production in Nizhnekamsk. The capacity of the newly launched facility is 145 thousand tons per year with further plans to increase it up to 300 th tons per year. As the experts say, the produced volumes would be enough to meet the requirements of the republic in full and to sell the produced goods in other regions. Prime-minister of Kazakhstan Danial Akhmetov who has submitted an offer to Tatarstan to jointly establish a transport corridor for autos to China through Kazakhstan, has announced his willingness to support a bitumen project already. Thus, the Republic has made one more real step towards the establishment of joint venture.
As the representatives of OJSC “TAIF-NK” (subsidiary company of one of the largest republican investment-industrial companies of TAIF) say, the first production line of the oxidized road bitumen with the capacity of 145 th tons per year was launched on the Refinery after reconstruction. «In case the demand for bitumen on the market would exceed 145 thousand tons per year, «TAIF» is ready to launch the second line within a half-year period», said company’s representative. Thereafter, the total capacity of road bitumen production would be 300 th tons per year.
The baseline and detailed reconstruction project, supply and installation of “Biturox” technologic equipment were made by the Austrian company Porner. The estimated total cost of this project is RUR 550-500 mln while more than RUR 420 mln were spent by PSC TAIF for the first stage. In process of working on this project, “TAIF-NK” made some adjustments in respect of its initial plans. In autumn, company’s general director Alexander Babynin told us that the volumes of the first line wouldn’t go beyond 120 th tons with the total figures coming to 240 th tons per year. Thereby, nothing was said about the dates of completion of the second line. Alexander Babynin explained that they were going meet the requirements of the Republic in gasoline of high quality in full after the start-up of first stage. The terms of reaching a full capacity would depend on a «sales market», he mentioned. Thus, TAIF expectations today are seen more concrete.
Experts consider the first existing line to be quite enough for TAIF-NK to supply the demand of a local market as the road building organizations have demand for about 200 th tons of goods, while the current demand on the market is about 100 th tons (the supplies are made mostly from Ufa, Uhta, Nizhnij Novgorod, Syzran). The road building structures are strongly “for” this project. «This would be a significant help as we are supposed to have one of the component parts of road surfacing for sure», said deputy general director for operation of OJSC «Tatavtodor» Yuri Danilov. As for first deputy minister for transport & road safety Yuri Chernov, he says that «TAIF would give a half of produced bitumen for export».
There are some reasons to suppose that. In last October, when the above mentioned project was for the first time presented to the audience, it attracted an attention of the delegation from Kazakhstan during their official visit in Kazan. Prime-minister of Kazakhstan Danial Akhmetov offered to prime-minister of the Republic of Tatarstan Rustam Minikhannov to build up the joint Russian-kazakh venture to realize the large-scale project of construction of Uralsk-Khorgos auto corridor. «We can organize a joint venture to realize this project. You have bitumen of good quality and all the necessary equipment while we have the necessary funds. We can together bring this project into life», said Danial Akhmetov. Kazakhstan representatives explained that the route «West-South» of Uralsk-Kizilorda-Shikment-Khorgos on the boarder with China to be started in 2008; it would connect West Kazakhstan with China and become the shortest way to reach China for some of Russian regions. According to the information received from our sources, TAIF, as well as Tatarstan as a whole, holds strong interest in this project; they are ready to increase the capacities of the existing bitumen plant for the purposes of a joint venture.
 
 
 

 

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