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EghtesadOnline: Expanding the role and authority of the state-owned National Petrochemical Company is on the agenda of Majlis Energy Commission, the head of the commission said.

“Defining the NPC statute and stipulating its scope of authority will give the company greater autonomy to pursue its goals," NIPNA, the NPC official news service, quoted Fereydoun Hasanvand as saying on Thursday.

"Once the statute is approved by the legislature, NPC will be able to act more independently," Hasanvand added, noting that after that the firm will have the necessary legal clout that it has been deprived of for long and accomplish its long-term trade programs.

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, Financial Tribune reported.

The lawmaker said creating new investment opportunities for domestic and foreign private companies is a priority of Energy Commission.

"Empowering the petrochemical industry means more jobs will be created. Expanding the sector can help Iran diversify its economy and reduce dependence on oil export revenues."

Underlining the petrochemical industry as a driver of economic growth, he said completing the value-added production chain can and will generate higher revenues.

On challenges related to bringing back multinationals to the energy market, Hasanvand said  a parliamentary commission is due to be established to help ease regulations and cut red tape to facilitate foreign direct investment.

"Talks are underway with the Oil Ministry and other bodies to lend greater support to the Iran Petroleum Contract," the MP said, referring to the new model of contracts designed to develop the oil and gas fields.

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

A historic 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.

According to Marzieh Shahdaei, head of NPC, the country should embrace the opportunities for cooperation with international companies that have access to advanced petrochemical knowhow.

Experts acknowledge that economic stagnation and declining demand pose a risk to the international petrochemical market. They also insist on the need to expand expertise and acquire advanced technology to cut costs, especially when the market is saturated.

NPC Fereydoun Hasanvand Iran petrochemical Iran parliament Iran's NPC Iran National Petrochemical Company