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58 Petrochem Plants Under Construction
Energy

58 Petrochem Plants Under Construction

Fifty-eight petrochemical plants are under construction across the country, a member of board of directors at National Petrochemical Company said on Sunday.

“Of the 58 complexes, six are concentrated in the city of Mahshahr, 23 in Asalouyeh and the rest in other cities … Foreign investment is needed for completing these projects,” Abdolhossein Bayat was quoted as saying by IRNA.

He noted that 51 petrochemical complexes are operational in the country, of which 21 are located in Mahshahr and 13 in Asalouyeh.

According to Bayat, some of these complexes are running with a single production unit and some have up to 15 active units.

Kaveh Methanol Company—targeted to become the world's biggest methanol plant—is among the Persian Gulf marquee development plans in the petrochemical sector. The complex is being built in the port city of Dayyer in the southern Bushehr Province and has so far made an estimated 85% progress.

The company was established in 2005 with AA quality grade and a daily production capacity of 7,000 tons, Shana reported.

A consortium of Iranian banks has invested in the unit, which is in the final phases of construction.

Methanol is a light, colorless, flammable liquid, which is used primarily as a feedstock for the manufacture of chemicals, and as a fuel for vehicles with internal combustion engines.

The largest use of methanol is in the production of other chemicals. It can be converted into formaldehyde and then to a wide range of products such as olefins, plastics, plywood, paints and explosives.

"Iran is in talks with the French company Air Liquide on cooperating in building a 500,000-ton methanol to propylene unit," Esmaeil Qanbari, managing director of Petrochemical Research and Technology Company, said last week. As Iran boasts the largest gas reserves in the world, it can be a leading country in production of olefins from methanol.

China, Japan, South Korea, India, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey and West European countries import about 15 million tons of methanol annually from the Middle East countries. Iran plans to raise nominal petrochemical production capacity to 130 million tons and produce 123 million tons of petrochemicals annually by 2021.

According to an NPC report, the Persian Gulf country aims to sell 93 million tons worth $61 billion of petrochemicals under the sixth five-year development plan (2016-21).

In line with the plan, several petrochemical projects, worth $37 billion, have been offered to Chinese investors and also the National Development Fund of Iran, to name the main ones. With regard to the fact that petrochemical projects are capital-intensive and Iranian private banks cannot afford to finance the mega projects, attraction of foreign investment is of high significance.

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