Sarakhs May Emerge as Petrochem Hub

Sarakhs May Emerge as Petrochem HubSarakhs May Emerge as Petrochem Hub

Plans are underway to transform Sarakhs Special Economic Zone (SEZ) into a petrochemical hub. The issue was discussed in a meeting between Abbas Shari-Moghadam, managing director of the National Iranian Petrochemical Company (NIPC), Sarakhs governor and a member of parliament.

A prospective investor, whose name wasn't disclosed, has proposed plans to establish a gas-to polypropylene (GTPP) unit in Sarakhs county in Khorasan Razavi Province. Polypropylene is one of the most versatile polymers used in a wide variety of applications, including packaging and labeling, textiles, plastic parts, reusable containers and automotive components, Shana news agency reported.

NIPC chief Abbas Shari-Moghadam, underlined the importance of infrastructure, namely water and electricity and proper construction site, for development of petrochemical complexes. "Supplying these key elements is the first step to build petrochemical units and supply feedstock."

NIPC has turned to expanding the number of GTPP and gas-to-methanol units to augment polypropylene production and use natural gas as feedstock to produce petrochemicals with higher value-added, given the abundance of gas resources in Iran and the increase in gas extraction in South Pars gas field in the Persian Gulf in recent years. NIPC says it has embarked on developing GTTP units due to the possible global saturation of the urea and methanol markets in the near future.

According to plans, SEZ will assess the GTTP project and will inform NIPC by April of its decision to build the petrochemical unit.

Established in 1996, SEZ is located in northeast Iran approximately 150km west of Mashhad and 15km off Sarakhs cities. The economic zone plays an important role in trade among members of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) - an intergovernmental regional organization initially established by Iran, Pakistan and Turkey for promoting economic cooperation among the 10-member group. It also is a gateway to Central Asian markets, China and Russia.