Iran petchem industry ready for foreign investment

TEHRAN, March 15 (Shana) – More than $50 billion is needed to be invested in Iran’s petrochemical industry. Many of stakeholders of petrochemical projects in Iran are actively developing their plans amid hopes for further gas production from South Pars gas field and the presence of foreign investors over the coming two years.

With the completion of South Pars phases, or the full development of phases 12 to 24 of this field, 650,000 b/d of gas condensate, 6.7 million tons of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) a year and 4 million tons a year of ethane will be available.

The Ministry of Petroleum plans to allocate the ethane fully to the petrochemical industry. The importance of petrochemical projects in Phase 2 of Assaluyeh comes to the limelight when one takes into account the fact that of 60 million tons of petrochemicals Iran plans to add to this production capacity by the end of the 6th Five-Year Economic Development Plan, 40 million tons will be produced in Assaluyeh.

The bulk of incomplete petrochemical projects in the second phase of Assaluyeh in the proximity of the city of Kangan are under construction. Most of them need finance and foreign loans to go ahead. In recent years, these projects have faced stagnation for a variety of reasons including sanctions.  But recently China released lifeline for 5 of a total of 22 projects up for investment. Full operation of these projects, which will be handled mainly by domestic investors, will add 40 million tons a year to the country’s petrochemical production.

Bushehr, Morvarid, Kavian, Persian Gulf, Ettehad, Mehr, Marjan, Kimia Gostar, Jam Armeh, Hormoz, Vaniran, Samand Tarrah, Lavan, Hangam and Damavand are among petrochemical projects in the second phase of Assaluyeh. They include a utility supply complex and related service providing facilities, 7 methanol production units, 3 urea and ammoniac production units, 2 ethylene production units, one ammoniac production unit and an ethane recovery unit. Some of these projects like Mehr Petrochemical Plant have become operational and some others are still in the preparatory stage.

Mehr Petchem, 2nd Phase Production

Mehr Petrochemical Plant is the first petrochemical unit in the second phase of Assaluyeh that has reached production is currently producing 300,000 tons a year of polyethylene. The products of this company are different grades of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) which is the raw material for downstream industries that produce polyethylene pipes, injection parts, films, nylon bags, etc. HDPE is exported to China, India, Turkey, Malaysia, Indonesia, Russia, Ukraine, the Philippines, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia.

Damavand; Largest Plant in Phase 2

Damavand Petrochemical Plant is the largest petrochemical plant under construction in Phase 2 of Assaluyeh. Installation of turbines 3 and 4 of the first phase of the power plant of Damavand Petrochemical Plant started recently with the objective of raising power generation capacity.

Given the power generation of domestic units of Damavand Petrochemical Plant, including four trains of aeration, water supply unit and offsite consumption that totally stands at 250 megawatts, two more turbines are needed to be installed in order to increase electricity generation for the main units in Phase 2 of Assaluyeh (Marjan, Bushehr, Morvarid, Dena, Sabalan and Greenfields) that would come online over the coming two years.

With the installation and operation of turbines 3 and 4, the rated capacity of Damavand Power Plant will reach 648 megawatts. The final capacity of Damavand Power Plant will reach 2,000 megawatts after the installation of 12 gas turbines.

Phase 1 of Damavand Power Plant is 97% complete and start-up of Damavand Petrochemical Plant is of high significance due to its specific location and the dependence of 24 petrochemical projects in Phase 2 of South Pars.

Damavand Petrochemical Plant is under construction for the production of 70,000 cubic meters per hour of cooling water, 32 cubic meters per hour of sweet water, 660 tons per hour of steam, 246 megawatts of electricity, 156 tons per hour of oxygen and 48,000 standard cubic meters per hour of nitrogen. This plant is fed by 610 mcm a year of natural gas that would be supplied by the developed phases of South Pars. Another feedstock of this plant is 410 tons per hour of condensed water.

This plant has so far been offered for privatization twice, but it still remains under ownership of National Petrochemical Company (NPC).

Kavian, Symbol of Self-Sufficiency

Kavian Petrochemical Plant is tasked with supplying feedstock to affiliates of Bakhtar Petrochemical Co. The plants run by Bakhtar are located on the route of West Ethylene Pipeline. Kavian’s main product is two million tons a year of ethylene.

The first phase of this complex came on-stream in 2012 and the second phase is set to be launched soon.

Ramezan Owladi, CEO of Kavian Petrochemical Plant, says this facility is currently facing feedstock shortage that would be compensated with the operation of new phases of South Pars. After that, the plant could run at full capacity.

Based on coordination made with the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), with the delivery of ethane produced in phases 15 to 18 of South Pars to Kavian Petrochemical Plant, the capacity of this facility will reach 2 million tons next year.

Morvarid, Large MEG Unit

Morvarid Petrochemical Plant is another facility in Assaluyeh. Among the projects in the second phase of Assaluyeh is the construction of monoethylene glycol (MEG) unit.

Located in the proximity of the ethylene unit of this complex, this unit is one of the largest MEG units in the world. With an annual production capacity of 500,000 tons of MEG, 50,000 tons of diethylene glycol and 3,400 tons of triethylene glycol, it will come on-stream in the first half of the next calendar year that starts on March 21.

Gholam-Reza Jowkar, CEO of Morvarid Petrochemical Plant, has said that this project is estimated to cost 227 million Euros. Royal Dutch Shell is to provide technology for this facility.

Marjan; Largest Methanol Unit

Marjan Petrochemical Company, with an annual production capacity of 1.65 million tons of ethanol, is among other projects in the second phase of Assaluyeh. It is currently in the stage of equipment installation. According to initial estimates, this project would cost 341 million Euros plus IRR 4,220 billion. With more than 54% progress, this project is among the leading ones in Phase 2 of Assaluyeh. Near Marjan Petrochemical Plant is located a project operated by Dipolymer Aryan. This facility which has the capacity of producing 1.65 million tons of methanol a year relies on German Lurgi technology. Forecast to become operational in late 2017 or early 2018, this facility is estimated to cost 220 million Euros plus IRR 2,000 billion.

Bushehr, Largest Project

Bushehr Petrochemical Plant is the largest petrochemical project currently under way in Iran. It comprises three phases. Phase 1 includes methanol and ethane recovery, Phase 2 involves ethylene, MEG and HDPE. Equipment installation is more than half complete in the second phase. According to the plant’s managers, the initial capital required for this project is 1.9 billion Euros plus IRR 2,500 million.

This sum is planned to be provided through finance (85%) and equity (15%). So far, 400 million Euros has been injected into this project. Persian Gulf, Ettehad, Kimia Gostar, Jam Armeh, Hormoz, Vaniran, Samand Tarrah, Lavan, Hangam and Damavand petrochemical plants are in the second phase of Assaluyeh. They are on average 10% complete and they desperately need foreign investment. They have been abandoned in recent years due to financial shortages.

Despite the start of construction operations for the projects in the second phase of Assaluyeh, they still need foreign loan and finance. Therefore, this division of Iran’s petrochemical projects could be considered as investment attractions.

Iran’s revenue from petrochemicals is estimated to double to $40 billion. Projects in the second phase of Assaluyeh will make great contribution.