At Linde, the development of tailored applications begins with an in-depth understanding of our customers’ needs. Our objective is not only to meet but, even more importantly, to exceed expectations. By combining engineering excellence with innovative drive and reliability, we are able to deliver projects to the very highest execution standards.
Over time, this winning combination has bolstered our leading position in the development and delivery of complex projects and provided a solid foundation for lasting customer ties.
Through permafrost with precision
Siberia’s second oldest city, major refining centre and key petrochemical hub.
58° 12I N, 68° 16I O
Tobolsk, Siberia. Dense fog billows over the vast steppes of Western Siberia. Huge amounts of crude oil and natural gas are extracted from the depths of this region. Not far from the Russian city of Tobolsk, the country’s leading petrochemical company, SIBUR, is taking a major stride into the future by constructing one of Russia’s largest ethylene plants – and Linde is playing a decisive role in the project.
Known simply as Tobolsk2, this ambitious project spans an area equivalent to one hundred football pitches. In practice, though, the plant’s size and complexity pose less of a challenge than the local climate and geography. In winter, temperatures here fall as low as minus 40 or even minus 50 degrees Celsius, while icy winds turn work into an extreme endurance test for people on the ground. These conditions also place exceptional demands on equipment and logistics. Frozen solid in winter, the active layer above the permafrost thaws in summer, turning the rock-hard ground into wetlands. Supplying the construction site with materials and resources is thus a major logistical feat, requiring meticulous planning to ensure key components from around the globe always reach the site on time. The river routes to Tobolsk are the only feasible option for heavy plant components – but even they are only navigable in summer. While the waterways start thawing from the upper reaches in spring, in autumn they freeze from the estuary back towards the headwaters again. So in the worst case scenario, a delay of just a few days could mean postponing a delivery to the next summer. When it came to selecting a reliable partner for this project, the SIBUR management team knew from the outset that it needed a company capable of stepping up to these extreme conditions.
Tobolsk is a key location for SIBUR. The company is now building one of Russia’s largest ethylene plants near the existing polymer plant.
Linde made it straight to SIBUR’s shortlist, thanks partly to the wealth of experience that Linde has gained from the successful delivery of around 4,000 petrochemical plants worldwide. In addition, Linde had already won SIBUR’s trust by constructing a polypropylene plant at Tobolsk. Ultimately, though, the key success factor in securing this follow-up contract was the company’s outstanding engineering know-how and comprehensive engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) experience in realising complex facilities. Time and again, major projects involving billion-euro investments have demonstrated Linde’s ability to exceed customer expectations with execution excellence and exceptional reliability. Pioneering reference projects such as Hammerfest (Norway), Borouge (Abu Dhabi) and Pearl (Qatar) provide concrete proof of this, weighing in Linde’s favour when it comes to new orders.
Since 2012, Linde has been working on one of the world’s largest polyolefin processing plants in Tobolsk, designed to generate high-quality feedstock for polymer production. In total, around 100,000 tonnes of concrete and 60,000 tonnes of steel are going into Tobolsk2’s construction, as well as almost 5,000 kilometres of cable. Even selecting and combining the materials is a challenge. Every individual plant component must be able to withstand the extreme local temperatures and permit start-up and shut-down at any time, while also contributing to cost efficiency. Linde is channelling the technology know-how that it has gained as one of the world’s leading plant engineers into this project, further cementing the company’s position at the forefront of the market.
Work progressed well in 2015, with the project running on schedule. Construction work should be completed in 2020. When it goes on stream, the plant will produce ethylene at a rate of around 1.5 million tonnes per annum (tpa), as well as 500,000 tpa of propylene and 100,000 tpa of butadiene. The scale of Tobolsk2 already makes it a key project for the region as a whole. In the future, it will enable the Russian polymer industry to meet sharply rising demand for feedstock without relying on imports. This will enhance SIBUR’s value chain deep into the downstream industry sectors.
At a Glance
Extended product portfolio
SIBUR extends its value chain with the help of an ethylene plant built by Linde
Facts & figures
Linde improves numerous factors
Gas flow velocity accelerated from 3 to 6 metres per second
Liquid nitrogen consumption reduced by around 20 percent
Production capacity increased by around 30 percent
Frozen food is a real success story within the food business. In Germany alone, annual consumption of frozen food has jumped from around 17 kilograms per person in 1984 to 42 kilograms in 2014.
These figures show just how dynamic this industry is – and also give some indication of how fierce competition must be. Frozen food is a billion-euro business. Securing a place at the pinnacle requires constant innovation, new product lines and ongoing technology optimisation.
For many years now, Malaysian frozen food producer MacFood has placed its trust in Linde’s engineering know-how. This was recently put to the test once again in a bid by MacFood to save liquid nitrogen and thus drive down the costs of its freezing process. The particular challenge here was to retain the existing spiral freezers and accomplish the entire revamp without interrupting production. A global first, since no freezer system had ever been upgraded in this way before.
Following an in-depth analysis of a spiral freezer, Linde Malaysia presented a solution in February 2015 that not only increased efficiency by up to 20 percent but also gave MacFood over 30 percent more production capacity. Instead of 2,000 kilos per hour, the new system can now freeze 2,900 kilos. Thanks to this revamp, MacFood has saved investment costs to the tune of around 4 million euros. All the more impressive considering that this performance gain only applies to one of three such freezers to date – so the potential here remains huge.
This successful outcome has far-reaching benefits for Linde, too. MacFood has chosen to secure the services of Linde Malaysia for another seven years with a total contract volume of 50 million euros.