Pentane Production in Sirri Refinery

Pentane Production in Sirri RefineryPentane Production in Sirri Refinery

Iranian experts have produced a strategic gas product called pentane, which has a wide range of applications in petrochemical industries, Sirri natural gas liquids refinery's deputy manager said on Saturday.

"Each barrel of the newly produced organic compound, derived from the natural gas, is worth as much as several barrels of crude," Mohammad Reza Safari-Rad was quoted as saying by Mehr News Agency.

Pointing to the chaotic hydrocarbon market deteriorating day-by-day due to the Persian Gulf littoral states' hostile policies in underselling their products, Safari-Rad said that achieving the new breakthrough can help Iran gain an upper hand in the market over those who are not willing to see Iran restore its market share.

According to the official, for over 100 years, Iran's gas basket has been full of products such ethane, methane, gas condensates, liquefied gas and sulfur and now another precious product has been added to the basket whose manufacturing knowhow is held by Iranian specialists in the region.  

"A unique feature of the newly produced gas product is its high price compared to that of crude and other gas condensates," he said, noting that under the current circumstances, each barrel of pentane is worth as much as a few barrels of oil.

Interestingly, none of the gas giants in the region, including Qatar, has succeeded in producing the rare commodity.

Underscoring the fact that Sirri refinery is capable of producing 300 barrels of pentane per day, Safari-Rad said, “Small quantities of pentane have been produced since the refinery became operational in early 2013."

Sirri NGL is the only domestic refinery in which the strategic compound is produced.  Needless to say, pentane is used in the production of polystyrene foam and specialty solvents in the laboratory that can be conveniently evaporated.

"The strategic product can only be produced and maintained in special temperature that is minus 40 degrees centigrade," he said.

According to Safari-Rad, prior to the establishment of the Sirri NGL refinery, gas mixed with oil would go to waste.

"Naphtha, pentane, butane and propane are the four major products of Sirri refinery and several cargoes of these products have been exported since 2013."

Sirri is the first NGL refinery on the continental shelf. The refinery's exports amount to 280,000 barrels of naphtha and 106,000 barrels of butane, bringing in around $22.2 million to the country.

The refinery has added 20 million cubic feet of methane and ethane per day to Kish Island's energy grid in the Persian Gulf.