Quest to end Russia aniline import duty gets Trade Ministry backing

Russia's chemists' union has received the backing of the country's
Ministry of Industry and Trade in its quest to see the import duty on Russian
aniline imports removed, the trade group's spokeswoman Darya Yartseva said
     Aniline is benzene derivative widely used in a production of gasoline
anti-knock agents, as well as polyurethanes, synthetic rubber, dyes and
     The union is an association of the country's chemicals producers.
     The proposal is currently awaiting the approval of the Ministry of
Economic Development, Yartseva said.
     The import duty on aniline in Russia is currently set at 5%.
     The removal of the import duty would ease the aniline deficit in the
Russian market, the union said, which amounts to around 30,000 mt/year.
     Currently only 10% of all aniline produced in Russia reaches the market,
as most of it is consumed captively. The largest aniline producers in Russia
are Volzhsky Orgsintez and Novocheboksarsk's Khimprom, whose combined output
amounts to around 68,500 mt a year.
     Tambov-based Pigment, which uses aniline to produces gasoline
octane-boosting additives, has plans to build an aniline production line by
2016. The plans envisage annual capacity of between 30,000 mt and 60,000 mt.
However, the project is still under consideration. Once operational, this
capacity would be able to cover the existing deficit.
     Mono-methylaniline (MMA), an octane-booster, is the main derivative of
aniline in Russia.
     The prospects of demand for MMA, however, are not clear due to Russia's
gradual introduction of higher motor fuel standards, which limit the presence
of aniline in gasoline.
     From 2016, with the introduction of Euro-5 standard in the country, MMA
is expected to be banned altogether.
     However, Yartseva said that amid concerns over the potential deficit of
octane-boosting components in the coming years, it is possible that technical
requirements for fuel could potentially be altered.
     In particular, she said that "MTBE producers, like Sibur, have no
further investment projects to ramp up production of MTBE."
     MTBE is oxygenate widely blended into gasoline in order to improve its
octane number and ensure a more effective burning.
     Petrochemical producer Sibur produces around a half of Russia's total
total MTBE output of 1 million mt. At the same time some Russian refiners are
also lagging behind schedule in building MTBE units, according to reports
from Russian authorities in February.
--Maria Tsay,
--Edited by Jonathan Fox,