Iran Eying $40b From Petrochemical Industry

Iran Eying $40b From Petrochemical IndustryIran Eying $40b From Petrochemical Industry

Iran is planning to make $40 billion a year from its flourishing petrochemical industry, Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said in a statement on Tuesday.

"Petrochemical production capacity will rise by 8 million tons in the current [Iranian] year (ending March 2017). This will raise the value of petrochemical production by $4 billion," Zanganeh was quoted as saying by Shana.

"This is aside from a long-term plan to raise the value of petrochemicals to $40 billion," he added.

Zanganeh was speaking on the sidelines of the launch ceremony of a $400 million petrochemical plant in Lorestan on Tuesday. The ceremony was attended by First Vice President Es'haq Jahangiri, among other senior officials.

Lorestan Petrochemical Complex was fully funded by the private sector, according to Zanganeh, who called for raising the value of products at the plant.

"Lorestan should not allow a single ton of petrochemicals to be exported without going through the downstream sector," he said.

The complex is designed to produce 300,000 tons per year of polyethylene and 30,000 tons per year of butene-1—a type of olefin used in the manufacture of other chemical products.

Iran has formed a strong belt of petrochemical plants stretching from its southern shores in the Persian Gulf region all the way through its western and northwestern provinces.

A slew of petrochemical units are slated for launch by March 2017, including two units with a production capacity of 2.5 million tons and 1.7 million tons and a urea fertilizer plant in Fars Province with an output of 1.7 million tons a year.

Polyethylene production is also expected to get a boost this year upon the launch of Kurdestan and Mahabad petrochemical plants. The new units will raise polyethylene output by 960,000 tons a year.

------- Potential for Investment

In his address on Tuesday, Jahangiri said Iran's petrochemical industry holds huge potential to attract domestic and foreign investments.

"Now that sanctions against Iran are removed, the government's most important mission is to roll out large-scale [petrochemical] projects via state funds or foreign finance," he said.

The first vice-president also came out firmly supportive of the private sector's investment.

He said the government of President Hassan Rouhani will always back what he described as the "real private sector" and said, "They are not after rent-seeking … They only want to operate with full capacity."

Iran's first foray into rejuvenating its sanctions-hit petrochemical industry came in the form of a large international conference in December.

Freed of the US-led trade and financial restrictions, Iran told tens of high-profile European and Asian firms and investors that it is planning to inject $70 billion in its wide-ranging petrochemical projects.

Nominal production capacity currently stands at 60 million tons a year, but plans call for doubling the volume by 2021 and raising the output to an ambitious 180 million tons a year by 2025.