Energy, Economy

French Firms to Modernize Iranian Petrochem Plant

French Firms to Modernize Iranian Petrochem PlantFrench Firms to Modernize Iranian Petrochem Plant

In line with efforts to renovate petrochemical plants, Nouri Petrochemical Company in southern Bushehr Province has started to upgrade its equipment and facilities in cooperation with two French multinationals, Axens and CECA, the managing director of the company said.

“The new components, including molecular sieves and absorption column panels, have been purchased from the French companies and will be installed gradually,” Mojtaba Taheri was also quoted as saying by NIPNA on Saturday.

Molecular sieves are used for drying gas streams in the petroleum industry, along with an extensive range of catalytic applications. Additionally, they can be used in air and liquid filtration systems.

Commenting on the details of the venture, Taheri said Axens and CECA are among a handful of firms equipped with the much-needed know-how to provide petrochemical plants with their infrastructure requirements.

According to the official, the contract to buy the equipment to refurbish the absorption column panels has been concluded with the international companies and the panels are being manufactured.

He noted that an estimated €60 million ($71 million) were expended to procure the new equipment. The project is expected to be fully implemented by August 2018.

Special Unit

Taheri pointed to negotiations with Axens to provide NPC with technical expertise to build a special unit to sweeten heavy distillates.

“The new unit will have the capacity to sweeten 2 million tons of heavy fuel oil, lubricating oils, wax and asphalt per annum,” he added.

Sweetening processes oxidize sulfur-containing compounds into more innocuous disulfides, which remain in heavy distillates.

Asked about the company’s plan to complete its value chain, Taheri noted that further development of the plant will be contingent upon attracting investment, but at present, there are no plans to manufacture value-added products such as linear alkyl benzene.

“Upon the completion of the new heavy distillate sweetening unit, two more units will be needed to complete the value chain and increase profitability. Nonetheless, providing the project with a piece of land poses a big challenge,” he said.

Axens is an international provider of advanced technologies, catalysts, and services to the petrochemical industries. The main scope of Axens’ business is the conversion of oil, gas, biomass, and coal to fuels and major petrochemical intermediates.

CECA is a world player in specialty chemicals. It operates an extensive network of industrial facilities in Europe and its specialty products and services are used in the manufacturing processes of most major industrial sectors.

Based on the company’s website, Nouri is one of the world’s largest production plants for aromatics. It is a subsidiary of the Persian Gulf Petrochemical Industries Company, the biggest consortium of Iranian petrochemical producers.

NPC was launched in 2007 at a cost of $240 million. In the previous fiscal, the company produced over 4.7 million tons of petrochemicals in the fiscal 2016-17, its biggest output volume in the past 10 years.

According to Bloomberg, the company’s petrochemical output last year, which ended on March 20, exceeded its nominal production capacity of 4.5 million tons.

It sold about 1.8 million tons of its total output to domestic customers, earning $910 million in revenues and exporting 2.9 million tons worth $1.49 billion.

The plant’s output, which includes paraxylene, orthoxylene, and raffinate, are mainly shipped to the Persian Gulf Arab countries as well as to India, China, and South Korea.

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