Iran petchem in “good shape” but upgrades needed, linde CEO

TEHRAN Sept. 23 (Shana) — The Chief Executive Officer of the Linde Group has said Iran’s petrochemical industry is in an acceptable state but needs to be upgraded in some areas, saying the company is ready to renew its legal activities in the country once the sanctions are lifted.
“The petrochemical industry is in an acceptable shape in Iran but certain upgrading is required and, of course, there is potential for a lot of new investments,” Wolfgang Buchele told Shana during a Tehran visit in July.
“We learned today there is an intention of the Ministry of Oil to devote substantial investment funds into future development of the petrochemical industry, and we definitely want to be part of that and we want to cooperate with the various interested parties in the way we did prior to the sanctions gains forward.”

He said Linde has been active in Iran for a long period of time prior to the sanctions and left the country in 2010, but added, “We are looking back to the situation we had in the past, so as soon as the sanctions allow and as soon as it is legally possible, we want to establish a legal entity in Iran and come back.”
After the sanctions relief, Linde will continue the transfer of technology and cooperate with Iranian companies to develop the petrochemical and energy sectors in the country, said Buchele. He said he expected to see the sanctions lifted no sooner than 2016.

Asked about the determining factors in the gas market, he said price and availability are the main game-changers in this regard, saying from a cost perspective for long-term supply for long distances, construction of pipelines would make a lot of sense.
He said, however, the biggest challenges regarding pipeline projects are not the constriction of the pipelines but aligning all the countries that are involved in such projects.

“I think the construction of a pipeline is not a time-determining factor, such a pipeline will definitely be constructed in one or two years. The challenge is to get the approval of all the countries, which are crossed by such a pipeline and to get everybody aligned,” he said.
Because the production costs are fairly low and the availability is high and from that point of view, for certain destinations, definitely the Middle East is in the best situation, he added.