Iran Pushing to Diversify Petrochemical Hotspots

NPC Pushing to Diversify Petrochemical HotspotsNPC Pushing to Diversify Petrochemical Hotspots

The National Petrochemical Company aims to expand Iran's petrochemical production map in a plan covering new investment areas from Azarbaijan Province in the northwest to central and southern regions across the Persian Gulf coast.

"Permits have been issued for petrochemical projects in the cities of Kerman, Maku, Kermanshah, Ardabil, Mehran and Khuzestan [Province],"said Farnaz Alavi, NPC's deputy for planning and development, NIPNA reported on Saturday.

The new ventures are chiefly aimed at producing propylene and olefins from methanol, a liquid chemical derived from natural gas.

Emerging economic and industrial zones in the south are planned to house new petrochemical infrastructure, including Parsian in Hormozgan Province, Chabahar in Sistan-Baluchestan Province and Qeshm Island off the Persian Gulf coast, she added without elaboration.

"Most of the projects approved for construction will have an output capacity ranging from 1 million to 1,850 million tons," Alavi said.

Polypropylene is a thermoplastic polymer used in a wide variety of applications, including packaging and labeling, textiles, carpets, plastic parts and reusable containers.

Olefin is a synthetic fiber made from a polyolefin, such as polypropylene or polyethylene, widely used in vehicle interiors, carpeting and wallpaper.

Most of Iran's petrochemical facilities are concentrated in the port cities of Asalouyeh and Mahshahr. The cities produced around 15 million and 13 million tons of petrochemicals respectively in the eight months between March and November, accounting for nearly 80% of Iran's petrochemical output.

Central to NPC's strategy is expanding the petrochemical industry's entire value chain that includes "a move toward research and development on catalysts", Alavi said.

She stressed that many petrochemical units, operating far below their nominal output capacity, were on the brink of shutdown in the last few years, but developing new petrochemical catalysts helped to save many producers from closure.

NPC is the chief regulatory body in the petrochemical sector. The state-owned company used to be a conglomerate of dozens of petrochemical firms that are now privatized as part of the push for privatization and downsizing the bloated bureaucracy.

Iran is pressing ahead with plans to reform its petrochemical industry, as the country aims to diversify its oil-based economy.

A historic nuclear deal between Iran and the six world powers in 2015 came into force in January last year, lifting many barriers against trade with Iran in exchange for limiting the country's nuclear activities.

NPC aims to institute policies that will help attract foreign investment and technology and speed up the expansion of the petrochemical sector that was battered by years of international restrictions and lack of funding.

Tehran says it hopes to attract more than $70 billion in the petrochemical sector and boost annual production to 130 million tons in five years.


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