NEW LEADER OF NATIONAL INDUSTRY
This autumn, a large-scale gas chemical complex (GCC), the first of its kind in Central Asia, was commissioned in the village of Kiyanly in the west of the country with participation of the President of Turkmenistan. The GCC is expected to process 5 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually and manufacture a range of finished polymer products, most of which are to be exported. Thus, Turkmenistan's newly emerging gas-chemical industry has substantially increased its production and export capacity.
The Kiyanly GCC will annually produce 381 thousand tons of high-density polyethylene, 81 thousand tons of polypropylene and other products that are in demand in the domestic and foreign markets. It is also envisaged that the plant will annually produce up to 4.5 billion cubic meters of marketable gas that will be channeled into the gas pipeline system of the western region of Turkmenistan.
This investment project exceeds 3.4 billion US dollars. It was implemented by Turkmengas State Concern in cooperation with LG International Corp, Hyundai Engineering (Republic of Korea) and TOYO Engineering Corporation (Japan) as part of the contract signed during Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov's official visit to Japan in 2013.
The plant is equipped with modern technologies for production of polyethylene and polypropylene. These technologies are noted for the fine cleaning of raw materials from impurities. As a result, the plant will manufacture environmentally friendly products that meet international standards.
The plant is fitted out with equipment purchased in Japan, the Republic of Korea, the USA, the UK, Belgium, Germany, Denmark and other European countries. It consists of four main technological installations: gas separation, ethane processing, polyethylene and polypropylene production. All technological processes are automated through the central console.
The Kiyanly GCC produces polymers with modern technologies that ensure the fine cleaning of raw materials from all sorts of impurities using the unique schemes. In particular, the gas separation unit employs a technology that ensures efficient extraction of methane, ethane from natural gas, as well as a widely used technology of cleaning raw materials from the so-called "acid gases" and mercury impurities.
It should be noted that the plant has launched production of high-density polyethylene products that are new for Turkmenistan. This technology is one of three most common technologies used in the oil and gas chemical industry globally.
The Kiyanly GCC project was awarded a special prize by TXF (Great Britain), as one of the ten best projects funded by export credit agencies in Europe and Eurasia in 2014. The total amount of loan agreements for this project signed by the State Bank for Foreign Economic Affairs of Turkmenistan with the Japan Bank for International Cooperation, the Export-Import Bank of Korea and the Syndicate of participating financial institutions of Japan, Germany, France, Korea, China, Italy, Austria and Switzerland exceeded 2.5 billion US dollars.
Speaking at the new complex opening ceremony, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov noted that Turkmenistan is not limited only to exports of hydrocarbons, including natural gas. It also pays great attention to hydrocarbon processing and production of competitive finished products. The head of state stressed that the new plant would help strengthen the country's position in the market of expensive polymer products.
For example, granulated polypropylene is widely used in the manufacture of polymer films, artificial fibers, high-strength sheet thermoplastics, all kinds of polymer products, including various clothes and furniture, packaging materials, etc.
Moreover, polyethylene can be used for production of various pipes and consumer goods. High-density polyethylene is a very durable thermoplastic, which is widely used for injection and blow molding of containers for industrial application and households.
The new production plant in Kiyanly will boost the process of diversification of petrochemical production and become an important contribution to ensuring the accelerated industrialization of the national economy.
Polymer products turned out by the new Kiyanly GCC have already become hot selling items at the State Commodity and Raw Materials Exchange of Turkmenistan (SCRMET). Companies from the CIS countries were the first buy them. According to the SCRMET, polypropylene is highly popular with foreign and domestic buyers for its price-quality ratio.
According to the State Statistics Committee of Turkmenistan, the workload of polypropylene production facilities at the Turkmenbashi Complex of Oil Refineries (TCOR) has reached 93.5 percent by now. For example, in 2017, the TCOR produced 84.1 thousand tons of polypropylene against the production target of 82.5 thousand tons. Polymer exports amounted to 62.3 thousand tons in 2017, and its stock in trade decreased by 31 percent, demonstrating a growing demand for this product.
Last year, 18.9 thousand tons of polypropylene were sold in the domestic market of Turkmenistan, most of which were purchased by private enterprises for the manufacture of polymer products (plastic pipes, utensils, building materials, etc.). Moreover, Turkmenistan's import substitution policy has increased the demand for polymers from local producers.
According to the statistics for 2017, an increase in production of this polymer meets the demand of not only foreign markets but also the domestic one, thus necessitating construction of new production facilities. According to the State Statistics Committee of Turkmenistan, polypropylene production in the country increased by 6.1 percent in the first half of 2018. The new gas-chemical complex can almost double the production of this polymer.
The gas and oil refining industry has been rapidly developing in Turkmenistan in recent years owing to the manufacture of polymer products, namely polyethylene and polypropylene, which are in great demand worldwide.
Turkmenistan's first polypropylene complex was put into operation at the TCOR by the consortium of several Japanese companies with the financial support of ExImBank. Liquefied gas produced from the oil processing serves as raw material for granulated propylene. Most of polypropylene produced at the TCOR is exported to countries such as Japan, Russia, Turkey, Iran, China and others.
Naturally, the operation of the new gas chemical complex required preparation of highly qualified personnel. In fact, in 2016, a few dozen people from among local specialists were sent to the USA for refresher courses, and another 16 specialists were sent to Thailand for training. In addition, managers of Hyundai Engineering Corp Ltd and LG International Corp. offered a number of personnel trainings for the complex that provided jobs for more than one thousand local specialists. A camp for 5 thousand people with all relevant living conditions was built next to the gas chemical complex in Kiyanly.
Given the great promise of such projects that enable Turkmenistan's fuel and energy sector to increase output of polymer products, there has been scheduled the construction of the second gas chemical complex near the village of Kiyanly in Balkan province. It will become even larger in terms of production capacity. It will process 2 billion cubic meters of natural gas and 117 thousand tons of sodium chloride, produce 390 thousand tons of polypropylene, 200 thousand tons of linear low density polyethylene, 100 thousand tons of polyvinyl chloride, 82 thousand tons of caustic soda, 10 thousand tons of hydrochloric acid and 10 thousand tons of liquid chlorine per year.
This major investment project is to be implemented jointly with foreign partners. The evaluation of proposals from international bidders is currently in process.
In addition, managers of the fuel and energy complex of Turkmenistan submitted a program to President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov that envisages the construction of a number of new gas and petrochemical plants over ten years in various regions of the country. This document is guided by the in-depth analysis of the regional and global market conditions, existing and projected demand for gas chemical products.
This is to say, Turkmenistan sees great prospects for the further development of mutually beneficial international partnership in the field of natural gas processing, construction of modern production facilities that manufacture a wide range of hot selling gas-chemical products.