Marun Petrochemical Co. in Talks With Shell, Linde

MPC and Linde are in talks over an olefin production unit.MPC and Linde are in talks over an olefin production unit.

Iran's Marun Petrochemical Company is in talks with international energy majors to expand petrochemical production, MPC's chief executive officer said.

"We have held some talks with multinationals, including Shell and Linde, over several development plans," Rahim Sharif-Mousavi was also quoted as saying by ILNA on Sunday.

MPC, which is located in the southern city of Mahshahr, Iran's second-largest center for petrochemical production, plans to expand its roster of petrochemical products, including alcohol ethoxylates and ethane.

Alcohol ethoxylates are surfactants widely used in detergents, household, institutional and industrial cleaners, cosmetics, agriculture, textile, paper and other processing industries.

"We hope to finalize an agreement with Linde Group over developing an olefin production unit," Sharif-Mousavi said, adding that MPC has been in ongoing talks with Shell but declined to provide further details.

Royal Dutch Shell has been quick in cementing its place in Iran's resurgent energy market following Tehran's landmark nuclear deal with the world powers last year that led to the lifting of most financial and trade restrictions against in mid-January.

Iran's National Petrochemical Company said in mid-October that an MoU had been signed with the Royal Dutch Shell on collaboration in the petrochemical industry, the country's second-largest sector after the oil and gas.

Shell, which owed money to the National Iranian Oil Company for crude purchases before sanctions were imposed in 2012, also repaid €1.7 billion ($1.9 billion) this year. The Anglo-Dutch multinational oil and gas company is also in talks over a long-term deal to buy Iran's crude oil and ultra light gas condensates.

Linde Group has also been leading the line in the rush of western companies to return to Iran's economy. The German giant signed a $40 million in August to provide Kian Petrochemical Company with knowhow and licenses to manufacture a range of petrochemical products, namely olefin, butadiene, benzene and hydrodealkylation.

Founded in Germany in 1879, Linde is a multinational industrial gases and engineering company. It is the world's largest industrial gas company by market share and revenue.

The group has over 600 affiliated companies in more than 100 countries, with customers in the industrial, retail, trade, science, research and public sectors.

  Ministerial Plan

The official also discussed a proposed plan to establish an independent ministry for the petrochemical industry.

"Forming the petrochemical ministry would have a much more meaningful impact compared to some of the current economy and trade-related ministries," he said. "Under the severe sanctions regime, production and exports of petrochemicals led to $12 billion in annual revenue."

National Petrochemical Company is Iran's top regulatory and policymaking body for the petrochemical sector, which operates under the auspices of the Oil Ministry.

Marzieh Shahdaei, the chief executive of NPC, said in a conference this month that Iran wants to attract $72 billion in foreign investment for 80 major petrochemical projects in line with plans to triple petrochemical production over a decade.

Iran's petrochemical production capacity is around 60 million tons a year. Tehran hopes to boost the capacity to 130 million tons a year by 2020 before reaching its lofty goal of 180 million tons per annum by 2025.

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