Progress at Petrochem Projects Outlined

Progress at Petrochem Projects OutlinedProgress at Petrochem Projects Outlined

Despite the continued fall in oil prices, petrochemical projects are being carried out within the specified timeframe, said deputy managing director of the National Iranian Oil Refining and Distribution Company (NIORDC), Mehr news agency reported Monday.

The government plans to increase oil and gas condensate refining capacity to three million barrels per day (bpd), Shahrokh Khosravani said, pointing out that 15 new petrochemical complexes are now in the designing, construction, installation, or commissioning stages.

Deals were signed with Chinese investors to provide finance for stabilization project of the Abadan Refinery, with a capacity of 250,000 bpd. Moreover, work has commenced on Anahita oil refinery, in the western city of Kermanshah, and the Bahman Geno heavy oil refinery in Bandar Abbas, with a refining capacity of 150,000 bpd and 300,000 bpd, respectively.

Once full extraction begins at the new phases of South Pars gas field, gas condensate production capacity will exceed 1.1 million bpd. Thus, in addition to the new oil refinery projects, 10 gas condensate refineries are due for construction in the southern regions.

There are plans to construct eight mini-refineries, each with a capacity of 60,000 bpd, in Pars Special Economic Energy Zone (PSEEZ) in the near future. A suitable site has been found by the contractor, and construction is to begin in the next Iranian calendar year (March).

With a progress of 75 percent, Persian Gulf Star refinery is also due for commissioning next year. Two major gasoline production projects are also underway as part of development plans for Isfahan and Bandar Abbas oil refineries. Provision of catalysts for Isfahan refinery's gasoline production project is undertaken by Iranian experts, Khosravani noted, adding that the project will come on stream before the yearend.

The project to produce gasoline in Bandar Abbas refinery has had a physical progress of 90 percent, and is expected to start production next year.

Funding for petrochemical projects is provided through foreign or Iranian private investors, as Article 44 of the Constitution prohibits the oil ministry from direct investment in refining projects, Khosravani said.

Currently, 45 petrochemical units produce around 60 million tons of products, accounting for 36 percent of the total non-oil exports. According to global estimates, Iran holds 24 percent of Middle East's and 4.2 percent of the world's petrochemical production capacity.

According to Shana, Iranian petrochemical output is projected to hit 100 million tons, valued at 20 billion dollars, by 2017. Iran's petrochemical exports mainly include methanol, urea, polyethylene and aromatics.