Mahabad Petrochemical Complex Inaugurated

Mahabad Petrochemical Complex InauguratedMahabad Petrochemical Complex Inaugurated

President Hassan Rouhani inaugurated Mahabad Petrochemical Complex on Tuesday in Mahabad in the West Azarbaijan Province.

Speaking on the sidelines of the inauguration ceremony, Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said Mahabad petrochemical plant is capable of producing 300,000 tons of heavy polyethylene and linear and light polyethylene as well as 30,000 tons of butane1 per annum.

"The plant can meet the demands of not only West Azarbaijan Province but also its four neighboring provinces," he said.

Zanganeh highlighted the fact that the plan was aimed at creating jobs and boosting petrochemical exports.

"Mahabad petrochemical initiative, developed with the help of the private sector, Bakhtar Petrochemical Company, at an estimated cost of $375million, will definitely play a major role in ensuring economic prosperity of the region," he said.

He also added that plans have been made to expand Sanandaj Petrochemical Complex, with a capacity of producing 330,000 tons of polyethylene per year, at an estimated cost of $425 million.

The minister believes that because of its location in the vicinity of neighboring states like Iraq and Turkey, and lack of petrochemical industries in the region, as soon as the ongoing initiatives become fully operational, western Iran will become the third biggest petrochemical hub in the Persian Gulf state by the end of the sixth five-year development plan (2016-21).   

According to Zanganeh, Mahabad Complex was one of the 12 projects planned in the vicinity of West Ethylene Pipeline, a 1,200-kilometer-long pipeline with a capacity of transporting 2.5 million tons of ethylene per annum from Asalouyeh to manufacturers of downstream plastic products.

"The plant went on stream six months ago and some of its products have been exported to target destinations. The same as most petrochemical complexes, 70% of the plant's commodities will be sold to international customers and the rest will be offered to meet domestic need," he said.

Pointing to the production capacity of the plant, he noted that to produce polyethylene, the refinery requires 300,000 tons of ethylene that will be supplied via West Ethylene Pipeline.

Asked about other petrochemical projects, Zanganeh noted that about 11 petrochemical projects with high value added will become operational in the current Iranian year (started on March 20).

Major Priorities

Petrochemical projects worth over $5 billion are said to include the complexes of Marvdasht, Kavian 2, Khorramabad, Karoun 2, Sanandaj, Kaveh and Asalouyeh.

Stressing that Iran’s annual petrochemical output will be worth $40 billion by 2021, he said, "To reach the goal, Iran needs an investment of $50 billion."

The country is developing 55 major projects, with 10 production units expected to go on stream by March 2017, adding at least 7 million tons to the annual output.

With a nominal production capacity of 60 million tons, Iran's petrochemical output reached 44 million tons in the last Iranian year.

According to the Marzieh Shahdaei, managing director of National Petrochemical Company, an increase in South Pars Gas Field’s output will make more feedstock available for petrochemical complexes.

Underscoring European and East Asian companies’ interest in financing petrochemical plans in Iran, Shahdaei said, “Those companies, which had good relations with Iran in the pre-sanctions period and were forced to abandon the country due to international sanctions, have expressed readiness to return and cooperate in projects that are underway.”