SHANA — CEO of National Petrochemical Company (NPC) Behzad Mohammadi has highlighted fluctuations in petrochemical production during the first two-month period of the current calendar year due to the Covid-19 outbreak, saying: “We have now reached stability in production and we are witnessing an 18% growth in the stock exchange transactions years-on-year.”
Mohammadi said the petrochemical industry earned Iran $15 billion last calendar year to March.
He said that 12 new petrochemical projects would come online in the current calendar year, noting that the petrochemical industry is one of the most attractive sectors for investment.
Mohammadi said the global economy had been affected by Covid-19, adding that Iran’s petrochemical industry had been instrumental in the country’s national economic growth. He said the petrochemical sector was the prime currency earner for the country last calendar year.
He added that the petrochemical industry was in the period of transition, which requires it to adapt itself to global developments.
“We have to move from the status of producing a single product from feedstock to several products from the same feedstock in a bid to guarantee sustainable development, boost resilience and remain immune to uncertainties. Therefore, smart development tops the agenda of Iran’s petrochemical industry,” he added.
Mohammadi also said Iran’s petrochemical output had been desirable despite US sanctions targeting the country’s petroleum industry.
He said Iran could offer a total of 31 million tonnes of petrochemical products worth $15 billion. He added that Iran neared $10 billion from petrochemical exports last calendar year, the remaining $5 billion having come from selling petrochemicals in domestic markets.
He said that last calendar year, petrochemical production and exports witnessed sustainable conditions. “Even during the new calendar year, despite the Covid-19 outbreak, we have reached stability.”
Mohammadi said the petrochemical industry received 35 million tonnes of feedstock, equivalent of 800,000 b/d of crude oil, last calendar year. “As the number of development projects increases, the daily feedstock receipt will reach the equivalent of 1.5 mb/d by 2021, which would mean shifting from selling raw materials.”
He put at 66 million tonnes the petrochemical production capacity last calendar year, adding: “Despite all bottlenecks and international restrictions we managed to stabilize our production and supply our products in the polymer, chemical, hydrocarbon and urea fertilizer sectors on domestic and foreign markets.”
Mohammadi said 980,000 persons were working in 15,000 small and medium-sized petrochemical entities. He added that it showed the high attractiveness of the petrochemical industry for the labor market.
12 Petchem Projects to Come Online
The petrochemical industry envisages two development projects for up to 2025, referred to as the second and third jumps in the petrochemical industry.
“In the second jump that would see 27 projects come online by March 2022, the petrochemical production capacity will rise from the current 66 million tonnes to 100 million tonnes. It would coincide with the end of the 6th Development Plan,” said Mohammadi, adding that income from the petrochemical industry would also increase from $15 billion to $25 billion.
He said the current calendar year would be a golden period for the petrochemical industry.
“We were initially supposed to launch 16 petrochemical projects by the end of the current calendar year, but due to the restriction imposed on the economy by the coronavirus, 12 projects would come online. With a 35% growth in output, the production capacity will reach 90 million tonnes by year-end,” he added.
Mohammadi said that the Kaveh methanol, Bushehr methanol, Kimia Pars Middle East methanol, Bid Boland Persian Gulf, Ilam Olefin, Lordegan urea and ammonia, Masjed Soleiman, Kangan petro-refinery, Miandoab polyethylene, Hegmataneh PVC, Ibn Sina Petrochemistry, Exir Solution pentane and hexane are among projects to come online this year. He added that the Sabalan methanol, Parsian Sepehr refining, Arta Energy and Khomeini PP would come online later.
27 Petchem Projects in 3rd Jump
Mohammadi said that under the third jump, a total of 27 more projects would come on-stream to raise the production capacity from 100 million tonnes to 130 million tonnes, in which case, the income from petrochemicals would hit $34 billion.
He said that the main feature of the third jump projects was high technical knowhow, adding that 10 new products would be offered under the third jump while the private sector’s participation would increase three-fold.
Mohammadi also referred to petrochemical feedstock projects, saying: “NGL 3100, NGL 3200, NGL Kharg, Kangan Petrochemical, Phase 1 of Bushehr Petrochemical, Bid Boland Persian Gulf and Parsian Sepehr would produce 14 million tonnes of feedstock for the petrochemical industry with an investment of $8.5 billion.”
New Investment Packages in 4 Production Chains
Mohammadi said new projects were envisaged in the current calendar year to help end Iran’s dependence on imports, balance and diversity the production chain and bring about prosperity in the downstream industries.
“Therefore, we have formulated projects in the four chains of methanol, propylene, ethylene and benzene, whose investment packages will be published in coming weeks,” he added.
Mohammadi said planning was under way to enhance Iran’s propylene production capacity, adding: “Currently about 980,000 tonnes of propylene is being produced in Iran and we are short of 200,000 tonnes. Demand for this product would reach 700,000 tonnes in coming years. We plan to bring propylene production capacity to 3 million tonnes.”
He said that NPC was producing propylene from methanol and natural gas, adding that all across the world, propane is converted into propylene while in Iran methanol would be converted.
According to Mohammadi, Iran’s methanol production capacity would reach 23 million tonnes by 2025, providing a good change for converting methanol to propylene.
“By implementing MTP projects on the coasts and producing propylene from methanol, this product would be piped to central areas in the country and we will see development in central provinces,” he said.
Offering discount in the price of natural gas as feedstock, providing approaches for easing taxation regulations and offering technical knowhow without charging any costs would make the projects more attractive to investors.
Mohammadi said GTPP projects were to produce propylene from natural gas before being transferred to northern and northeastern provinces to develop downstream industries. He said that the first GTPP project, operated by NPC, was under way in Eslamabad Gharb, which would come online by 2024.
Methanol would be produced from gas in northern Iran and from methanol in southern Iran. Propylene storage stations would be also built along the route for transferring PP to northern provinces.
Mohammadi said nationalization of petrochemical technologies was under way in Iran. He said: “So far seven cases of technical knowhow used in petrochemical processes have been indigenized, which would reach 10 by 2021.”
Mohammadi said the global catalyst trading had reached $33.5 billion with the petrochemical and refining industry accounting for about $18 billion. In Iran, the catalyst market is valued at $400 million.
“In the petrochemical industry, there are 40 groups of catalysts, 16 of which have already been indigenized and 11 others would be indigenized by March 2022,” he said.
Courtesy of Iran Petroleum