Gazprom Neft has begun implementing an investment project to develop a cutting-edge graphite-electrode plant in the Avangard Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Omsk. Products from the future plant — which will be fully compliant with the highest international standards — will be used in producing high-grade steel in Russia. Target capacity at the plant is 30,000 tonnes per year, which will cover domestic steel manufacturers’ increasing demand for heavy-duty graphite electrodes, significantly reducing the domestic metallurgy industry’s dependence on imports.
The new plant will be integrated into Gazprom Neft’s end-to-end production chain. The raw material (feedstock) for producing graphite electrodes — petroleum needle coke — will be sourced from the Omsk Refinery’s delayed coking unit (DCU). Modernisation of this complex is currently ongoing, completion of which will allow the Omsk Refinery to become the first needle-coke producer in Russia: all of this raw material being currently imported.
The future plant will be operated by Gazprom Neft subsidiary Gazpromneft-Bitumen Materials.
“We are starting out on implementing a project unique to Russian industry. High-tech production of Russian electrodes will reduce foreign products’ domestic market share. Thanks to the major modernisation programme being implemented throughout the Omsk Refinery, we are developing a new business area and facilitating the manufacturing of high-margin products, further improving value-chain efficiency and further diversifying the company’s business.”Anatoly Cherner Deputy CEO for Logistics, Processing and Sales, Gazprom Neft
Large-diameter UHP graphite electrodes are mainly used in electric arc furnaces to produce steel. Electric currents pass through the electrodes into the body of the furnace, where they are converted into heat. Graphite’s unique properties (high conductivity, low fusibility, and mechanical integrity) mean the electrodes can withstand the extreme conditions involved in metal production — specifically, temperatures of more than 3500°С.