Plan to Expand Regional Petrochemical Market

Plan to Expand Regional Petrochemical MarketPlan to Expand Regional Petrochemical Market

A senior official at National Petrochemical Company announced on Monday that Iran plans to expand its regional petrochemical market, including in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Afghanistan.

“The Oil Ministry, in cooperation with the Ministry of Industries, Mining and Trade, has devised plans to increase investments in chemicals, polymers and catalysts, which play a key role in completing the petrochemical industry’s value chain and significantly reduce production costs,” Ali Mohammad Bosaqzadeh, NPC’s production control director, was also quoted as saying by Shana.

Iran exported 18.8 million tons of petrochemicals worth $9.6 billion in the previous Iranian year (ended March 19, 2016) to 60 countries, with Middle East nations and China taking in the lion's share of petrochemical exports.

Ethylene, polyethylene, methanol, ammonia and urea are the main Iranian petrochemical products.

Bosaqzadeh stressed that access to cutting-edge technology is crucial for raising investment in the sector, adding that the new economic and political climate after the removal of sanctions has provided opportunities to adopt modern knowhow and make up for the losses under the sanctions regime.

According to IRNA, Denmark’s Haldor Topsoe, a world leader in catalysis and surface science, has recently resumed petrochemical collaboration with Iran, which had halted in 2014 due to limitations caused by sanctions.

Stressing that domestic industrial units are still in need of importing some materials, the official said, "If goals to complete the value chain are met, the country will no longer need to bring in foreign materials and end-prices will drop.”  

Bosaqzadeh noted that as Iran cannot reach a 100% production of the strategic petrochemical products and given the Persian Gulf country's plan to become a petrochemical hub in the region, it should take measures to offset the shortages and reduce the end-prices to attract importers.

Iran’s petrochemical industry, the country’s second biggest source of income, has experienced a relatively steady growth in the past few years. It produced 46.4 million tons of petrochemicals last year, nearly 2 million tons higher than that of the previous year (44.5 million tons).