Petrochemicals 1/3rd of Non-Oil Exports

Petrochemicals 1/3rd of Non-Oil ExportsPetrochemicals 1/3rd of Non-Oil Exports

Petrochemical exports made up slightly more than one-third of Iran's total non-oil exports, or 33.8%, in March-August, up from 29% in the same period last year, secretary-general of the Association of Petrochemical Industry Corporations said.

However, Ahmad Mahdavi said there was a dip in the value of exports.

"Iran shipped $5.7 billion worth of non-oil goods in the first five months of the year (March-August), though it garnered $5.9 billion from non-oil exports in the same period of last year," Mahdavi was quoted as saying by IRNA on Sunday.

"Plunge in oil prices is the main reason behind lower revenues from the export of petrochemicals," he added.

Iran's petrochemical production reached nearly 20 million tons in March-August, with 4.3 million tons produced in the past month, according to reports.

The official added that uncertainty in feedstock prices over the past two years has hampered investment in this key sector.

"We do not know what to tell foreign investors about the prices of feedstock (in Iran)," he added.

Earlier this month, the government announced gas as feedstock to petrochemical complexes had been priced at 13 cents per square meter for August-September (first half of the Iranian year), while gas as fuel would cost 3-4 cents.

He also criticized the government's low discount for gas feedstock supplied to petrochemical complexes.

"Iran's major energy rival Saudi Arabia gives a 30% discount on its feedstock, but Iran's discount is only 5%," he noted. According to market watchers, feedstock prices vary from 6 to 8 cents in the Middle East. Mahdavi said petrochemical complexes want the government to settle on 8-cent per square meter.