EghtesadOnline: In line with plans to boost Ilam Petrochemical Complex's output in the western Ilam Province, the construction of two olefin production plants and a sulfur recycling unit (SRU) in the complex is scheduled to be completed by March 2018, chief executive officer of the National Petrochemical Company said.
"Despite grappling with financial constraints, the ventures have registered a work-in-progress rate of 90% in less than two years," Reza Norouz-Zadeh was also quoted as saying by IRNA on Monday.
Pointing to the plant's key role in creating much-needed jobs in the underprivileged region, Norouz-Zadeh said, "Upon completion, the ethylene production capacity in the complex will reach 450,000 tons per annum."
"The units will gradually become operational between April and June," he said, adding that the private firm has more than 2000 staff at present, Financial Tribune reported.
According to the official, Ilam Petrochemical Company manufactures a wide range of quality products, of which 80% are exported to international markets.
Referring to environmental concerns, he added that not only will SRU help separate huge amount of sulfur, but it will also curtail noxious gas components significantly.
Ethylene is the building block for a vast range of chemicals, from plastics to antifreeze solutions and solvents, and is also used for ripening fruits.
With an estimated global output of over 150 million tons in 2016, ethylene is the most commercially produced gaseous compound.
Asked about ongoing initiatives in the province, namely Dehloran Petrochemical Complex that commenced in August near the border with Iraq and 230 kilometers south of the provincial capital of Ilam, Ali Mohammad Bosaqzadeh, an NPC official, added that the venture is being developed and will become operational in two years.
"It is designed to produce 700,000 tons of ethylene and 150,000 tons of propylene annually," he said, noting that the venture is estimated to require $550 million and 4 trillion rials (about $105 million) in finance, which will be provided through investors and pension funds.
According to the official, the plant will receive ample supplies of water and natural gas–two important components of any petrochemical unit—once it is ready for launch.
Bosaqzadeh noted that NGL 3100, an under-development venture to collect associated petroleum gases from oilfields in Ilam, will feed Dehloran petrochemical unit with natural gas.
"The Dehloran venture is part of a drive to complete the value chain in the downstream petrochemical industry," he said, adding that the plant will bolster regional economy by creating dozens of jobs.
With a population of around 66,000, Dehloran is home to an oilfield that went on stream about 40 years ago.
The county is set to become one of the largest domestic producers of highly-used petrochemicals: ethylene and propylene, a thermoplastic polymer with wide applications in packaging, textiles, laboratory equipment and automotive components.
Iran holds some of the world's largest crude oil and natural gas reserves, but its petrochemical industry is comparatively underdeveloped.