By Aynur Jafarova
The export of chemical products increased by 12 percent and amounted to $3.9 billion in Kazakhstan in 2012, Minister of Industry and New Technologies Asset Issekeshev said at a government meeting earlier this week.
The export of chemicals increased by 67.7 percent from 2009 to 2012, he said.
Issekeshev also noted the need to solve outstanding problems in order to stimulate domestic demand for the products of the chemical industry and promote exports.
"We need to actively solve the problems associated with the stimulation of demand in the local market and export promotion," he said.
Issekeshev said that the volume of production in the Kazakh chemical industry should hit more than one trillion tenge by 2020.
According to him, a program on the development of the chemical industry in 2010-2014 has been developed. It contains several key points: modernization of enterprises, creation of new industries, and thirdly, creation of the institutional framework of the industry. Implementation of these goals allows ensuring the volume of production in the chemical industry at more than one trillion tenge by 2020.
According to Issekeshev, three major enterprises - Kazfosfat LTD, KazAzot LTD and Kaustik JSC - are already involved in the first direction. With the modernization, the production of four new products will be launched by 2020. After modernization the labor productivity will increase by more than four-fold.
The labor productivity has increased 1.5 times while the volume of production - by 50 percent in KazAzot. The production of caustic soda, chlorine and its products on the basis of modern membrane technology has been restored at Kaustik.
Eurasian Industrial Chemical Group LTD, the only producer in Kazakhstan and the whole Central Asia of a wide range of rubber products, exports more than 50 percent of its goods to Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia. Production increased by 34.1 percent from 2009 to 2011, Issekeshev said.
Referring to the second major direction, which is the creation of new industries, Issekeshev said that KazMunaiGas is implementing a project on the production of aromatic hydrocarbons in the petrochemistry sector at the Atirau refinery.
A gas processing project, "Integrated gas-chemical complex in Atirau region", is being implemented to ensure the production of polypropylene with the capacity of 500,000 tons per year.
According to Issekeshev, the production of synthetic rubbers is an important direction in the chemical industry. This is the basis for the tire and rubber industry and other sectors.
"At present, the Ministry of Industry and New Technologies is negotiating and considering the structure of the project for the production of butadiene, which is the basis of rubbers. Marubeni (Japan) and Plenum (UAE) are involved as partners, and CB&I acts as a licensor," Issekeshev said.
He said that a project on the production of semi-coke and synthetic liquid fuel is also being implemented. The total investment is 57 billion tenge.
Three chemical clusters in Atirau, Zhambil regions and Pavlodar are being established, Issekeshev added.
The national industrial policy regarding the chemical industry will be based on the support of these clusters, he said.
During the meeting Kazakh Deputy Prime Minister Kairat Kelimbetov proposed to give control over chemical fields and facilities to foreign companies.
According to him, major global technology leaders are owners of technologies and market makers and they know how these markets will develop. He believes that Kazakhstan should boldly grant fields and facilities to the companies as the country will only gain in doing so.
Kelimbetov went on to say that Kazakhstan needs to attract partners from the Customs Union to the development of the chemical industry.
According to Kelimbetov, special attention should be paid to the attraction of investors.
The petrochemical and chemical sectors are very well developed in Russia and Belarus, thus, it is important for Kazakhstan to attract partners from these countries for conducting research and staff training.
Summing up the discussions, Kazakh Prime Minister Serik Akhmetov said that the production and export of chemical products in the country has doubled. According to him, there are all necessary conditions for the development of the chemical industry.
He said that a dynamically developing chemical industry will give synergy to other sectors, including small and medium businesses, by 2020.