EghtesadOnline: Iran's petrochemical production in the first six months of the current fiscal year increased by 5% compared to the same period of last year, as the country continues to shore up exports by securing new customers in East Asia.
"Petrochemical output reached 27 million tons between March 21 and Sept. 22," Ali Mohammad Bosaqzadeh, deputy for production control at the National Petrochemical Company, was quoted as saying by NIPNA on Saturday.
"Sales in domestic markets increased by 7% in terms of volume and 12% in terms of value," he added.
The official noted that exports in the six-month period rose by 12% in tonnage and 8% in value compared with the corresponding period of a year ago. He did not provide details, according to Financial Tribune.
Having passed the 50-million-ton mark in the previous fiscal, Iran aims to ramp up production to 60 million tons by March 2018, as a string of petrochemical plant launches should increase nominal output capacity to 72 million tons annually.
The lion's share of petrochemical exports is bound for India, China and South Korea, and the country is "gaining more ground in Africa and Europe", Bosaqzadeh said.
"Plans are in place to raise the export of engineered polymers with higher value added."
Iran earned $4.6 billion in petrochemical export revenues in the five months of March 21-Aug. 22. It earned $9.55 billion in revenues from petrochemical exports last year, official data show.
Hossein Rasoulzadeh, an official at the Persian Gulf Petrochemical Industries Company, said the country's largest holding of petrochemical firms has signed three agreements to export a total of 100,000 tons per year to East Asia.
"PGPIC has struck separate deals to sell various grades of polyethylene to buyers in China, South Korea and Taiwan," he said.
Japan’s Itochu Corporation signed a deal in May to purchase 11,000 tons of polyethylene per month from PGPIC.
The lifting of international sanctions breathed new life into Iran's energy and petrochemical trade. An increasing number of new markets, including Argentina, Peru and New Zealand, have recently begun taking in petrochemical consignments from Iran, officials say.
Iran holds some of the world's largest crude oil and natural gas reserves, but its petrochemical industry is underdeveloped in comparison.
Tehran says its new petrochemical ventures require investments worth over $70 billion that should mostly come from foreign sources, such as France's Total and Royal Dutch Shell, that are reportedly close to sealing billions of dollars worth of licensing and construction deals in the Iranian petrochemical market.
Petrochemical is Iran's most important industry after oil and gas. NPC hopes to lift nominal output capacity to 120 million tons per annum by 2022, the end of Iran's Sixth Five-Year Economic Development Plan.