Petrochem Trade Ready for Takeoff

Petrochem Trade Ready for Takeoff  Petrochem Trade Ready for Takeoff

The ground has been prepared to facilitate resumption of petrochemical exports out of Iran when the country reaches a deal with global powers over its nuclear program this week, but traders do not expect Iranian products to make a considerable impact on the global petrochemical scene for some time.

Alongside recent visits to Tehran from top executives from European oil majors like Royal Dutch Shell and Eni to discuss investment opportunities, the Iranian capital has in 2015 hosted several petrochemical traders and analysts, Platts said.

 Representatives from trading companies based in Dubai, which struggled for years to sign offtake agreements with petrochemical producers in the region, have repeatedly visited Tehran in 2015. Some companies said they have placed permanent representatives there but requested not to be named.

"Representatives from Iranian petrochemical companies have also repeatedly visited Dubai over the past six months to understand how trade flows can resume once sanctions are lifted," a Dubai-based trader said.

"Iran has turned into a key priority for anyone involved in Middle East petrochemicals trade," said Eduardo van-Zeller Neto, Dubai-based partner and head of Oil and Chemicals, Middle East, at Roland Berger Strategy Consultants.

Estimates place Iran's current manufacturing capacity for all petrochemicals at 50 million tons per year and exports at about 17 million tons per year. Iran privatized much of its petrochemical industry in 2011-13 and traders from newly formed petrochemical firms have been spotted at petrochemical forums across the world.

One of the bigger companies closely watching Iranian trade include Chinese giant Sinopec, a source at the company said in April.

"Chinese enterprises have shown an interest in investing in Iran, and we may see strong investments in the country once the sanctions are eased," van-Zeller Neto said.

The five permanent members of the UN Security Council (Britain, China, France, Russia and the US), along with Germany, are locked in talks with Iran in Vienna to discuss the lifting of sanctions imposed on Iran due to its nuclear program.