Sibur’s factory in Tobolsk (Tobolsk Polymer Plant), that will be one of the world’s five-biggest producers of plastics when it opens later this year, is expected to diversify Russia’s oil-dependent economy and transform the fortunes of Siberia’s historic capital.
“The city can no longer imagine itself without Sibur, or Sibur without the city,” said Tobolsk’s mayor Vladimir Mazur.
Mazur said the city, which sits on the Irtysh river in the heart of Western Siberia’s oil-rich Tyumen region, had welcomed the expansion of the existing Soviet-era plant. The $9 billion complex will lead to an influx of jobs, taxes paid by Russia’s biggest petrochemicals firm and an economic boost for small businesses.
The complex also carries with its significance for Russia’s economy.
The polymers it will produce will be made partly from the associated petroleum gases (APGs) that in the past have been burned off as a waste product during petroleum extraction. That represents a significant step in Russia’s drive to increase the value it derives from its natural resources. It also offers the country an in-demand export good that is insured against oscillations in oil prices, oil and gas analysts say.
“Russia’s economy is very dependent on oil,” said Dmitri Marinchenko, Senior Director, Oil and Gas, at Fitch Ratings. “From a long-term perspective, this plant is a positive step. Oil demand will eventually go down with the turn to green energy but demand for plastics is only growing.”
June 28, 2019