Iran Sees Prospect for Petrochemical Plants in Caspian Region

Iran Sees Prospect for Petrochemical Plants in Caspian RegionIran Sees Prospect for Petrochemical Plants in Caspian Region

Iran's northern regions straddling the Caspian Sea could emerge as new hotspots for petrochemical production, Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said on Tuesday, signaling the government's intention to diversify and expand the key petrochem sector now largely concentrated in the south.

"Gilan, Mazandaran and Golestan provinces have access to abundance of water, which makes them well-suited for petrochemical plants," Zanganeh said in a meeting in Gilan on Tuesday.

He opined that expanding petrochemical infrastructure in the north will create hundreds of new jobs and reinvigorate the region's economy.

Refining, petrochemical, and chemical industries  need huge quantities of water, which explains why the key industries have been vastly developed across Iran's southern regions off the Persian Gulf.

However, petrochemical and petroleum industries have failed to take off in the north as Iran has taken little if any meaningful measures to tap into its deposits of crude oil and natural gas in the Caspian region.

According to reports, construction of a major petrochemical plant started with much fanfare in Gilan during the government of former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. But the so-called "largest petrochemical complex in the north", which was to be commissioned in three years, has been plagued by financial and operational constraints.

In related news, Ali Mohammad Bosaqzadeh, director for production control at the National Petrochemical Company, said the production of petrochemicals and polymers in the past 11 months has exceeded 50 million tons.

"This is a record in petrochemical output. We expect exports to reach 20 million tons in the present fiscal year (ends March 20), 8% higher compared to outbound shipments in the previous fiscal."

Iran's annual petrochemical output capacity is around 60 million tons, but it is planned to more than double in five years.

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