China to Finance 18 Petrochem Projects

China to Finance 18 Petrochem ProjectsChina to Finance 18 Petrochem Projects

The development of petrochemical projects is not presently suspended and "Chinese companies will fund a total of 18 petrochemical projects in the near future," deputy oil minister said, Mehr news agency reported Monday.

Abbas Shari-Moghadam announced the Chinese have resumed the funding of four petrochemical projects in Iran, including petrochemical units in Masjed Soleyman, Sabalan, Yasouj and Bushehr.

He stressed that a possible lifting of trade sanctions will be followed by significant growth in the petrochemical sector.

Investment opportunities in the petrochemical industry is estimated at $30 billion, the official noted, adding that Indian and European companies are also eager to participate in petrochemical projects once the sanctions are removed.

After eight days of marathon talks on Tehran's nuclear program in Lausanne, Switzerland, Iran and the P5+1 (Britain, China, France, Russia, the US plus Germany) reached a framework agreement on April 2 that calls for lifting all trade sanctions against Iran. The details of the agreement are to be finalized by a June 30 deadline.

Iran aims at exporting $5 billion of petrochemicals to Europe per annum. In addition, according to estimates, annual petrochemical output will surpass 66 million tons by March 2016. Iran produced more than 44 million tons of petrochemicals in the past year.

Petrochem Challenge

Some petrochemical complexes have turned to supplying output to foreign markets at the market exchange rate to bring in higher revenues instead of selling petrochemicals to domestic complexes at the official exchange rate, Shari-Moghadam voiced concern.

He criticized the divergence in exchange rates and said "it has become a challenge in petrochemical industry."

The sale of petrochemicals at the market exchange rate (33,490 rials) generates nearly 18 percent more revenues for petrochemical complexes compared to the official exchange rate set by the Central Bank of Iran (CBI).