Private Sector to Build Chabahar Petrochem Hub

Private Sector to Build Chabahar Petrochem HubPrivate Sector to Build Chabahar Petrochem Hub

The private sector is planning to establish the largest petrochemical hub in Chabahar in southern Iran, said the head of Mokran Petrochemical Complex.

Hassan Malek Esmaeili added that the private sector will invest $11 billion in the project, which will be constructed in three phases for supplying the markets of Middle East, India and China.

According to Esmaeili, the first phase has been scheduled to go on stream in 2018 with a production capacity of 2.1 million tons, IRNA reported.

With the completion of the first phase, $5 billion worth of petrochemicals will be exported per annum. As soon as the second phase becomes operational in 2019, the complex's exports will increase by $6 billion.

"In addition, 20,000 people will be employed upon the completion of all three phases," he said.

Negin Mokran Development Company is planning to produce olefins and aromatics in the complex, which will be used as feedstock in downstream industries.

Announcing that 30 downstream units will be constructed in the complex, Esmaeili said upon the completion of the third phase, production capacity will reach 23 million tons, of which 20 million tons will be exported, turning Chabahar into a petrochemical hub.

Currently, 45 petrochemical units produce about 60 million tons, accounting for 36% of the total non-oil exports.

According to global estimates, Iran holds 24% of Middle East's and 4.2% of the world's petrochemical production capacity.

  More Exports, Less Revenues

Although Iran's petrochemical production and exports have increased by 12% in terms of weight, its value of exports has dropped due to falling oil prices, Ahmad Mahdavi, director general of the Petrochemical Employers Association, said on Thursday.

According to reports issued by the National Petrochemical Company, more than 6 million tons of petrochemical products, valued at $3.6 billion, were exported in the first four months of the current Iranian year (started March 21), Mehr News Agency reported.

"The sharp decline in oil prices has affected most of the petrochemical products exported by Iran," he said, adding that the products, using naphtha and gas condensates as feedstock, have suffered a dramatic plunge.

Mahdavi noted that the oil price slump has had little effect on commodities such as methanol, which is produced with natural gas and ethane feedstock.  Light, sweet crude for September delivery rose 34 cents, or 0.8%, to reach $41.14 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The September contract expired at settlement Thursday. The more actively traded October contract settled up 5 cents, or 0.1%, at $41.32 a barrel.

Brent, the global benchmark, fell 54 cents, or 1.1%, to $46.62 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe, the lowest settlement since January.