Reshuffle in Top Petroleum Posts

Reshuffle in Top Petroleum PostsReshuffle in Top Petroleum Posts

Iran's Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh on Sunday appointed a new chief for the National Petrochemical Company and nominated a woman as his first deputy in the latest restructuring of top management in Iran's key petroleum industry.

Based on a decree by Zanganeh, Seyyed Reza Norouz-Zadeh will take the reins of NPC, a state-owned company that sets the roadmap for Iran's petrochemical sector and oversees investments and development projects, the Oil Ministry's official news service Shana reported.

Norouz-Zadeh will replace Marzieh Shahdaei who has been promoted in a pioneering move to the post of first deputy oil minister after serving as the NPC chief executive since February 2016.

The reshuffling marks the first time a woman takes on the second highest executive role in Iran's petroleum industry following her appointment last year as the first-ever female deputy oil minister.

Norouz-Zadeh, who holds a PhD in business administration, was the CEO of Iran's Social Security Investment Company since June 2016, having held top posts, including adviser to oil and trade ministers.

From around 60 million tons now, Iran's nominal petrochemical output capacity is set to match Saudi Arabia's capacity of around 100 million tons annually before exceeding 120 million tons a year by 2022, the end of its Sixth Five-Year Economic Development Plan. Officials say the new ventures require at least $70 billion in funds, which should mostly come from foreign investors.

As part of the Oil Ministry reshuffle, Zanganeh appointed a young executive as the new director for the National Iranian Oil Refining and Distribution Company, one of the largest subsidiaries of Oil Ministry that oversees downstream development projects and operations.

Alireza Sadeqabadi a PhD student in business administration, replaced the 63-year-old Abbas Kazemi who was designated adviser to the oil minister after four years as the NIORDC chief.

However, in what was perceived as a largely nominal move with little executive clout, Zanganeh also appointed Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh, a former minister, as his chief industrial adviser this month.

Nematzadeh, 72, served as the minister of industries, mining and trade between 2013 and 2017 during the first term of Hassan Rouhani as president.

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