Iran Discussing MTO Technology with Chinese

Iran Discussing MTO Technology with Chinese
Iran Discussing MTO Technology with Chinese

Iran is in talks with China to purchase methanol-to-olefins (MTO) technology, deputy director of the National Petrochemical Company (NPC) Mohammad Hassan Peyvandi said.

The technology will allow Iran to "increase olefins and propylene production by 15 million tons" in the present Iranian calendar year (March 2015), Shana reported Peyvandi as saying.

Additionally, a new gas-to-olefins (GTO) plant is to be built in Sarakhs Special Economic Zone in Razavi Khorasan Province. NPC is in talks with Pasargad Bank of Iran (BPI) and Astan Quds Razavi Foundation to build the new plant.

Close to 10 percent of methanol production will be consumed to produce propylene and the volume will rise to at least 22 percent within the next five years.

Peyvandi underlined sanctions as one of the reasons behind the increase in the production of methanol in Iran. "Due to a lack of investment and access to new technologies, 7 methanol projects are planned in the country."

Import of petrochemicals increased as a result of the sanctions, and consequently investment in the downstream sector and domestic production of petrochemicals fell. The US imposed tough sanctions on Iran to curb the country's nuclear program which it claims is geared to military use. Iran insists that its program is peaceful. Iran and P5+1 are negotiating to reach an agreement.

Inexpensive feedstock and proper petrochemical infrastructure in Asaluyeh and Mahshahr in southern Iran have contributed to excessive production of methanol.

Methanol production capacity is estimated at 5 million tons a year. The volume is expected to increase to 24 million tons within the next 5 years. Peyvandi underlined the importance of developing the downstream sector and said many industries need propylene and methanol.

"Increasing the production of methanol is an opportunity to increase propylene production," he noted, insisting that the production of shale gas should be on the agenda as the US, China and Argentina are rapidly expanding their market share.