The Republic of Belarus has a powerful chemical complex, which has been created for many years. Since 1965, Belarus has been called the republic of big chemistry. The development of the chemical complex was facilitated by a number of conditions: the presence of rich deposits of potassium salt, oil fields, gas and oil pipelines passing through the territory of Belarus; the profitability of the economic and geographical position, which consisted in close proximity to the ports of the Baltic Sea, to European countries; availability of free industrial sites and highly qualified labor resources; powerful construction base; well-developed network of railways and roads; great demand for chemical products and high socio-economic efficiency of its use in industry and agriculture. This made it possible for the complex to have a steady growth trend and occupy an increasingly high place among other industries.
In the sectoral structure of Belarus, enterprises of the chemical complex occupy the third place after mechanical engineering and metalworking (23.9%), food (19.3%). However, despite the fact that a relatively high level of chemicalization of the economy was achieved in the country, in the 70s – the first half of the 90s. due to small own reserves of hydrocarbon raw materials and the deterioration of the natural environment, the growth rate of production of the chemical complex tended to decrease. In 1991-1995, a sharp decline in production began, as a result of which the increase became negative (-8.7%).
Loss of markets due to consumer insolvency
A sharp increase in energy prices, raw materials, materials, component parts, a shortage of working capital, overstocking with finished products caused a decrease in production volumes. At the same time, it is impossible not to take into account the fact that the depreciation of fixed production assets at many enterprises of the complex has reached almost 80%. But in 1996-2000, the decline was replaced by an increase of 8.7%. This indicates that the enterprises of the complex were able to maintain their production potential. It is the branches of the chemical complex that are today the most active producers and suppliers of export products for the CIS countries and far abroad.
The chemical complex is also characterized by such a feature as the high dynamics of shifts in its structure. In a very short time, new industries have appeared in Belarus – mining and chemical, basic chemistry, production of artificial cord, synthetic fibers, plastics, tires and various petrochemical products.
Chemical and petrochemical industry. It mainly specializes in the production of organic synthesis products (chemical fibers and threads, synthetic resins, plastics, tires, rubber technical products) and basic chemistry (acids, varnishes, paints), household chemicals, medicines, etc. In terms of the production of chemical fibers and threads, Belarus ranks 2nd after Russia and produces about 25% of their production in the CIS. The volume of production of chemical fibers and threads is almost 2.5 times higher than the needs of Belarus, so they constitute a prominent export item.
In addition, Belarus specializes in the production of synthetic resins and plastics and covers up to 85% of domestic demand. On the basis of this production, POLYMER production facilities produce polyethylene, 65% of which is exported.
Since there is an acute shortage of plastic products in the republic, the task becomes to increase the capacity of the Borisov Plastic Products Plant, as well as the Polotsk PA “Steklovolokno”.
The tire industry provides more than 70% of similar products in the CIS. However, relatively low quality and high price hinder the expansion of exports to the Russian Federation, not to mention foreign countries.
The industry also produces consumer goods, for example, rubber shoes (Krichev, etc.). The task is to improve its quality, expand the range.
The paint and varnish industry of Belarus provides about 6% of all products in the CIS, and the production of these materials per capita is almost 2 times higher than the average for the CIS. Lida PA “Lakokraska” produces about half of the products of the entire paint and varnish industry of the republic. It is planned to start production of fundamentally new chemical products – alkyd varnishes on new substitutes for vegetable oil.
The household chemicals industry of Belarus is represented by Baranovichi and Brest household chemicals plants, the capacities of which do not allow meeting the needs of the population in synthetic detergents. Today, this problem can be solved through the reconstruction, expansion and technological re-equipment of plants.
The chemical and pharmaceutical industry is engaged in the production of medicines. In Belarus, there is a concern “Belbiopharm”, which includes JSC “Belmedpreparaty” (Minsk), RUE “Nesvizh Plant of Medical Preparations”, SE “Ekzon” (Drohichin), RUE “Dialek” (Minsk), Grodno Plant of Medicines in Skidel. They produce 394 names of medicines and medical devices.
With the transition to market relations, the main problem of the complex is intrastructural restructuring, re-profiling of traditional production into new, more progressive products. This is the production of reinforced film for agriculture, structural materials for various purposes, carpets, etc. The task is also set to repurpose inefficient enterprises for the production of acutely scarce products – food film materials, methanol.
Enterprises of the chemical complex have a high level of sectoral and territorial concentration, which negatively affects the state of the environment. A particularly difficult environmental situation has developed in Novopolotsk, Soligorsk, Mogilev, Bobruisk, Svetlogorsk, Mozyr. Therefore, of all the sectors of the complex, the chemical industry will develop at the highest rate, for which it is planned to introduce cleaner technology.
The prospect for the development of the chemical complex lies primarily in the structural restructuring of production, which includes the following areas:
reorientation of industries and most enterprises primarily to the needs of the domestic consumer market; creation of conditions and sources for qualitative updating of technology and product range; increasing the share of knowledge-intensive industries, competitive industries and the development of export potential.
Main parameters of the chemical complex (2002):
Number of enterprises, units
Share of SPT complex in the total number of SPT in industry,%
Share of fixed production assets of the complex in the volume of OPF industry,%
Share of the complex’s output in the total volume of industrial production,%