Production has started at what is said to be one of the world's biggest polypropylene factories, near Tobolsk in the Tyumen region of Russia, an event that may transform Russia from an importer to exporter of the widely used material.
Tobolsk-Polymer, a subsidiary of Russian petrochemical company Sibur, will annually produce 500,000 tons of the plastic, which is used in everything from packaging to car parts, and will employ 460 workers.
It took three years and $2 billion to build the plant, and Sibur received a $1.4 billion loan granted by a number of international credit agencies.
The new production site will increase Russia's existing polypropylene output by 40 per cent, Russian media said, and will make it possible to export the plastic to other countries.
"Though it sounds strange, Russia, which has such a large resource base, still imports this important product in large volumes," Russian President Vladimir Putin said at the plant's official opening in mid-October.
Polypropylene import will decline as the factory begins to produce, he added.
In 2012, Russia produced 650,000 tons of polypropylene while consuming over 840,000 tons.
According to IHS Chemical research agency, the domestic polypropylene market will grow by 4.2 per cent through 2020. World consumption of the plastic has been growing steadily and reached 50 million tons in 2011.