Iranian Petrochem Co. to Boost Exports to Europe

Karoon Petrochemical Company is the first producer of isocyanates in the Middle East.Karoon Petrochemical Company is the first producer of isocyanates in the Middle East.

Karoon Petrochemical Company in the southern Khuzestan Province plans to export a wide range of petrochemicals to Italy in the near future, the company’s commercial manager said on Wednesday.

“The first cargo of toluene diisocyanate (TDI) will be shipped to the European country, which is a positive outcome of Iran's nuclear agreement,” Kazem Bastakian was quoted as saying by Shana. He did not provide details.

After years of negotiations, Tehran and the six world powers reached a historic agreement, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, in July 2015 on placing time-bound limits on Iran's nuclear program in return for scaling back most international sanctions.

Karoon Petrochemical Company exports to 18 countries, including Greece, Albania, Russia and Sweden, Bastakian said, adding that some companies started  placing orders after the removal of international economic sanctions in January.

Some other buyers are from Azerbaijan, Turkey, Iraq, Nigeria, Afghanistan, the UAE and China.

“Our priority is to meet the demand of the 17 domestic firms,” he said.

Karoon Petrochemical Company is the first producer of isocyanates in the Middle East. Its production of TDI, which is its main product, amounts to 40,000 tons a year. This is while the TDI unit is operating at half capacity.

Karoon also produces other petrochemicals such as Methylene diphenyl diisocyanate or MDI (40,000 tons p.a.), acid clorhidric (116,000 tons), nitric acid (92,000 tons), ortho toluenediamine (11,000 tons), Meta toluenediamine (31,000 tons), nitrobenzene (40,000 tons) and aniline (30,000 tons).

The company uses chlorine, carbon monoxide, hydrogen, toluene and nitric acid as raw material to produce basic petrochemicals and final products with higher value added.

Karoon receives its feedstock from the Bandar Imam, Bu Ali Sina, Fanavaran, Arvand, Razi and Shahid Rasouli petrochemical plants.

During a conference in Tehran in December 2015, Iran announced plans to attract $70 billion in petrochemical investment to develop the key industry.

According to reports, Iran's regional rival Saudi Arabia is currently facing shortage of gas feedstock for its petrochemical plants, which cannot be fully addressed  with the exploitation of Karan Gas Field in Saudi territorial waters.

Iran is now rapidly expanding the new phases of South Pars Gas Field -- the Iranian side of the world’s largest gas field shared with Qatar.

Iran wants to produce some 40% of the Middle East’s total petrochemical output by 2021 from the present 25% and become the largest petrochemical producer in the region within 10 years.

Nominal production capacity currently stands at 60 million tons a year, with plans to triple the output by 2025.