SIBUR Technology Center Adds Innovations to Company Portfolio

By Elena Zhuk, August 20, 2013

A few years ago petrochemical holding company Sibur has started to build its own effective system of development and commercialization of technologies that adequately meets the pragmatic business interests. Sergei Galibeev, the director of SIBUR Technology Center has told about the structure of one of the leading Russian companies’ R&D division, as well as about the possibility of its effectiveness evaluation. 

Oil&Gas Eurasia : Sergei, could you tell us how and wherefore was  SIBUR Technology Center set up?

Sergei Galibeev : Petrochemistry is not the most innovative industry; its technology change cycle is much longer than, for example, of IT or bioengineering. However, by 2006, at SIBUR we came to the conclusion that if we want to make the company more technologically competitive, we need to conduct our own researches. Otherwise, we had the only option of buying remained commercially available licenses. At the same time the most advanced solutions, allowing you to “skim the cream” from the economical point of view, are almost never sold, so if your company does not have R&D department – you`ll have to put up with constant technological lag for five-ten years in some segments. It is needless to say that many of the high-margin products technologies are not sold at all. Even if technology holders are willing to negotiate, they put it under such conditions, that it becomes unprofitable to the licensee. So we started purposefully create a system that would allow to effectively implement the process of R&D – from a portfolio of innovative projects to the commercialization of research results.

OGE: How was SIBUR R&D structure formed?

Galibeev: Initially we have created the first research center in Tomsk – NIOST. It still remains the flagship of our scientific work involved in extensive list of research problems our company is faced with, covering the processes of heterogeneous catalysis and the preparation of the products of basic organic synthesis, polymerization processes, the creation of composite materials on the basis of various polymers. Along with the NIOST construction, we started to develop an approach to R&D portfolio. In 2009, after the conclusion of the first NIOST unit construction and the first positive results of the laboratory projects a need to scale processes emerged. At this stage questions about the protection of intellectual property appeared as well as the need to attract competence in the field of engineering and pilot plants construction. It has also become clear that it is time to move on to the stage of R&D activity structuring. Therefore, in 2011 it was decided to establish SIBUR Technology Center, whose main goal is to coordinate and manage all development stages, from receipt of the order  from business to the output of initial data for industrial facility construction and puting new products into production.

In 2012, in Voronezh a second R&D center was set, which specialization is rubbers development. In addition, we have two major centers based on traditional R&D centers in our sites in Togliatti and Tomsk. They are involved in both research and development and