The production of wood based panels and plywood may be doubled in Russia, up to 21-23 million m3 per year by 2020 compared with 2008, according to predictions by analysts at the All-Union Scientific Research Institute of Wood Working industry (AUSRIWWI), one of Russia’s leading analytical agencies in the field of wood business and processing.

According to them, this will take place in light of the continuing growth in the Russian economy, as well as the local furniture industry. According to the predictions of those analysts at AUSRIWWI, the domestic demand for MDF, HDF and OSB will be met by 2016. However, the shortage of particleboard during the next five to seven years will continue.

The annual growth in production of wood based panels and plywood in Russia is estimated at 10%, which has been observed since 2007.

The biggest growth in the market for the last several years was observed in 2011, when total growth amounted to 16.5%, including particleboard by 22%; fibreboard by 4%; and plywood by 12%.

At the same time, the growth in the market in 2012 was only 5.5% compared with 2011.

Currently the demand for wood based panels in Russia is significantly higher than actual production. The unmet demand for particleboard is currently estimated at 2.5 million m3; in the case of MDF 0.5 million m3; while in OSB it is estimated at up to 1.5 million m3.

This, according to the analysts at AUSRIWWI, reflects a big potential for the Russian wood based panel industry to engage in further growth.

Doubling of the market is expected to mainly take place after the commissioning of several MDF, HDF and OSB lines which are currently being built in Russia and which will officially launch after 2015. It is thought that these should fully satisfy the domestic market for these boards.

Currently, the first four Russian OSB plants, with total capacity of 1.6 million m3, are being built by investors. One such plant is currently being built in Karelia by Kalevala Woodworking Integrated Plant and is expected to be launched in June of the current year (2013).

According to Valery Puchkov, head of Kalevala, the capacity of the plant will be the same as already planned and will amount to 250-300,000m3 per year at the initial stage. After the launch of the second phase of the project, the capacity of the plant will amount to 500,000m3 per year.

At the same time, the construction of another large OSB plant will soon be completed in the city of Egorievsk (Moscow region) by Kronospan. The commissioning of that plant was scheduled for June 2013. During the first phase of production the new plant will produce about 300,000m3 of OSB per year, while during the second, another 200,000m3 is expected to be added.

In addition, the third OSB plant will be launched in the first quarter of 2015 by the Russian Oris company. According to an official spokesperson of Oris, Elena Kyzichkina, the initial plans of the company are that the plant should be launched in the fourth quarter of 2013, however, due to corporate changes, the commissioning of the plant was suspended. Total capacity of the line will be 500,000m3 and the equipment for the plant will be supplied by the German oem supplier Dieffenbacher.

Another OSB plant was recently launched in the Russian city of Kirov by the local Novovyatskiy ski factory. The capacity of the plant is 100,000m3.

In addition to the above-mentioned projects, several other OSB plants are expected to be built in the near future. At the same time, in the case of MDF, current production in Russia takes place on eight production lines with a total annual capacity of 1.3 million m3, including five lines with continuous presses.

During the next several years, six more projects, with annual capacity of 2.07 million m3 of MDF are expected to be launched. This will solve the problem of the MDF shortage in Russia in the coming years. However, the lack of particleboard in the market will probably be experienced for another five to seven years.

One of the main reasons for such a situation in the market is the lack of interest by businesses in building plants for the production of laminated particleboards, (the main structural material for furniture) which has been observed in recent years.

Instead of this, the main interest of investors has been focused on the construction of facilities for the production of MDF, OSB and plywood.

Currently there are 47 lines for the production of particleboard, which have total capacity of 7.55 million m3 per year, of which only five plants are equipped with highlyefficient continuous presses, with a total capacity of 1.91 million m3 per year.

During the next several years, another 10 plants for particleboard are expected to be launched, of which six will have a total capacity of 1.66 million m3 and are expected to be equipped with continuous presses.

However, according to analysts of AUSRIWWI, this will still not be enough to re-equip the industry and to fully meet the ever-growing local demand for particleboard.