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Rusnano president: despite “painful” EU sanctions, nanotech projects to weather them

25 Jun '15
Rusnano president Anatoly Chubais believes any extension of the EU’s economic sanctions against Russia is “painful,” but says his company has long factored in such developments. Projects continue—both internationally and in Russia, with the focus on bringing to market domestic technology solutions in aid of Russian industry.

Anatoly Chubais, the president of Russia’s largest nanotech company, Rusnano, believes any extension of the EU’s economic sanctions against Russia is “pretty painful” to the nanotech sector, the Russian news agency TASS quoted him as saying.

“We have long believed this will be the case. We do not think that sanctions are a story for a month or two, and they don’t appear to us as something unserious or superfluous. This is serious matter, and pretty painful, if looked at from the standpoint of serious business rather than fanfaronade,” Mr. Chubais said.

However, according to the head of the nanotech giant, the scenario has been anticipated and factored in. “We have a range of projects that are now facing problems because of the sanctions. Nevertheless, I can see none that would be collapsing as a result of that,” he further said.

He set as an example a project of a sizable fund Rusnano had planned with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), which has come to a halt because of the sanctions. “But we have found a Chinese partner and set up a fund of a similar size to pursue basically the same goals as we planned originally,” Mr. Chubais said.

“I met the EBRD president recently, and I can see that both parties now express desire to resume cooperation,” the Rusnano head said.

In late June, top European officials formally agreed to continue for another six months with the economic sanctions against Russia. International projects are but one side to the Rusnano story. Making sure technological breakthroughs are facilitated on Russian soil, in aid of domestic industry, appears to be quite another, and more important, matter.

Gazprom Neft to do without imported catalysts?

Here’s one of such examples. Rusnano and Gazprom Neft, Gazprom’s oil-producing arm, have agreed to jointly push their new project to develop catalysts for oil refining, the Rusnano website announced.

One of the priorities for the effort is the substitution of catalyst imports with world-class solutions developed domestically to enhance catalytic cracking, hydrofining and hydrocracking. The partners want to employ in their production endeavor some advanced new technologies reportedly developed by a number of Russian think-tanks.

Omsk Oil Refinery, a Siberian asset of Gazprom Neft, is currently producing catalysts for catalytic cracking, which is a key process that ensures deep oil refining.

At inception, Rusnano and the oil company have agreed to give Omsk Oil Refinery and its technologies a major face-lift. The cooperation also calls for the construction of a pilot catalytic cracking unit to test new families of catalysts.
Oleg Kouzbit, managing editor: “I’m glad you join us here and take The Bridge walk for Marchmont’s weekly review of the Russian regions’ innovative present and future. Stay close and you’ll find out more of how Russia is bridging the existing gap between its researchers and businesses.”
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