2nd Phase of Iran's Largest Ethylene Unit Launched

2nd Phase of Iran's Largest Ethylene Unit Launched2nd Phase of Iran's Largest Ethylene Unit Launched

The second phase of Kavian Petrochemical Complex, Iran's largest ethylene production plant, has been launched in the southern city of Asalouyeh, said Ramezan Ouladi, the chief executive of company.

The new unit has a nominal production capacity of 1 million tons a year, raising the complex's total ethylene output to more than 2 million tons.

"More than 70% of work related to constructing the largest petrochemical unit in Iran was done by local contractors," Ouladi was quoted as saying by Fars News Agency on Friday.

Construction of the complex started more than a decade ago in the Pars Special Economic Energy Zone in Asalouyeh, Iran's largest center for petrochemical production.

The complex supplies ethane to seven major petrochemical plants through a 1,200-kilometer pipeline—known as the West Ethylene Pipeline (WEP)—that runs from Asalouyeh in the south all the way to West Azerbaijan Province in the northwest.

However, the official said that both units of Kavian complex are operating much below capacity due to low supply of ethane as feedstock.

"Kavian Petrochemical Complex is currently the only supplier of ethane via the WEP.  The decline in ethylene output has also led to lower production of petrochemicals," Ouladi said.

 With an estimated global output of over 150 million tons in 2016, ethylene is the most commercially produced gaseous compound. It is also produced in nature.

The compound is the building block for a vast range of chemicals, from plastics to antifreeze solutions and solvents, and is also used in the agriculture sector for ripening fruits.

------- Natural Gas Demand

Ouladi said the complex is awaiting the completion of all phases of the South Pars Gas Field—the world's largest field shared between Iran and Qatar in the Persian Gulf.

"We could face excess ethane output when all South Pars phases come on stream by 2018," he noted.

Development of Iran's petrochemical industry – a key sector after oil and gas --  hinges on the rise in natural gas production which is projected to top 1.2 billion cubic meters per day by 2020, up from the present 450 million cubic meters.

Nominal petrochemical output stands at 60 million tons a year, but plans call for doubling the capacity by 2021 and boosting production to 180 million tons by 2025.