Spanish Consortium Planning Petrochem Investment

Spanish Consortium Planning Petrochem InvestmentSpanish Consortium Planning Petrochem Investment

A consortium of 250 Spanish companies is willing to invest in Iran's petrochemical sector, managing director of Spanish investment firm SERCOBE told Iranian officials in Tehran.

"Spanish firms are eagerly anticipating the removal of sanctions (against Iran) to undertake petrochemical projects in the country," Juan-Ramon Duran Puebla, director general of SERCOBE, said in a meeting with the National Petrochemical Company officials, IRNA reported.

SERCOBE, or the National Association of Manufacturers of Capital Goods, represents more than 400 companies and special groups in the fields of design, engineering, production, maintenance, installation and recycling.

The official said Spanish firms would operate in the Iranian market in two ways: They would either embark on investment independently, which would require strong financial competence, or work through a consortium as a more common investment method for Spanish companies.

Duran Puebla also said Spaniards have plans to attend the next Iran Petrochemical Forum in 2016.

NPC Managing Director Abbas Sheri-Moqaddam mentioned SERCOBE's "credible track-record" and said the NPC has confidence in cooperating with this European consortium.

"A lot of big companies will vie for investment in Iran in the next two years once the sanctions are lifted, and those who have built trust will enjoy priority," he said.

The meeting comes as a high-ranking 70-member Spanish delegation arrived in Tehran earlier this month to forge cooperation in various fields.

Among this month's meetings with Spanish officials, Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh hosted Spain's Minister of Industry, Energy and Tourism Jose Manuel Soria in Tehran to explore cooperation in a wide range of economic and energy fields, including LNG supply to Spanish terminals, and from there, to other European destinations.

Also last month, Iran Power & Water Equipment and Services Export Company finalized an agreement for technical and engineering cooperation with Bester, a Spanish company based in Seville, for the design and manufacture of solar energy equipment.

Amir-Hassan Fallah, deputy for finance and investment development at NPC, also hoped that "a great proportion of domestic projects" will be completed by Spanish funding.

"Spain has been one of the few countries that stood by the Iranian petrochemical sector at the time of sanctions," he said on the sidelines of the meeting.

Iran and six world powers reached a historic deal on July 14 in Vienna, which would limit the Persian Gulf country’s nuclear program in return for removing sanctions on its energy and financial industries.

Tehran and Madrid had established a profitable bond in the pre-sanctions era and the two sides hope to significantly boost economic ties in the near future.

Trade between the two countries reached a record high of $5.2 billion in 2011, as energy comprised the lion's share of bilateral trade that year.

However, the volume shrank to a meager $321 million in the previous Iranian year, according to Iran's Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Mines.

  Petrochem Output

Iran's petrochemical production reached nearly 20 million tons in March-August, with 4.3 million tons produced in the past month, Shana said in a report.

Annual petrochemical output in the previous two Iranian years accounted for 40.5 million tons and 44.5 million tons respectively.

The volume is expected to surpass the 50-million-ton milestone in the current year ending March 19, 2016, upon the completion of several phases of the South Pars Gas Field in the Persian Gulf region and a hike in ethane production. NPC has estimated that Iran's nominal petrochemical production capacity will reach 62.6 million tons this year.

It expects total petrochemical exports to hit $11 billion while domestic sales are estimated to reach $11.1 billion, bringing the overall value of petrochemical sales to exceed $22 billion by March.