EghtesadOnline: Iranian petrochemical exports exceeded 7 million tons in the first four months of the current fiscal year (March 21-July 22), generating $3.5 billion.
The country exported 7.188 million tons of petrochemicals and polymers, up nearly 5% from 6.847 million tons in the same period of last year, NIPNA, the National Petrochemical Company's news service, reported on Saturday.
Tehran earned $9.55 billion in revenues from petrochemical exports last year, official data show. The petrochemical consignments went mostly to Asia, Europe and South America.
Pars Special Economic Energy Zone's exports earned $1.86 billion, or more than 50% of total export revenues. PSEEZ, located in southeast of Bushehr Province by the Persian Gulf, is home to major oil, gas and petrochemical facilities, according to Financial Tribune.
Nouri Petrochemical Company shipped $405 million worth of products in the four-month period, making it the biggest Iranian petrochemical exporter in terms of revenue. Nouri is among the world's largest producers of aromatics with an annual capacity of 4.5 million tons.
Pars and Zagros petrochemical companies followed with $310 million and $299 million in export revenues respectively.
NPC data also showed that petrochemical production exceeded 18 million tons in four months.
The country is forecast to produce 56 million tons of petrochemicals by March 2018, almost 10% higher than last year's level that exceeded the 50-million-ton mark. Nominal output capacity is planned to reach 72 million tons annually.
However, revenues could decline this year as payments by China, the largest customer of Iranian petrochemicals, has been hampered in recent months.
Beijing has launched an overarching anti-graft campaign in its financial and banking sectors that Iranian officials say has throttled payments for China-bound petrochemical consignments.
--- Development Plans
Tehran says its new petrochemical ventures require over $70 billion in investments that should mostly come from foreign sources.
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.
Iran holds some of the world's largest crude oil and natural gas reserves, but its petrochemical industry is underdeveloped in comparison.
The government of President Hassan Rouhani is on a mission to make better use of the massive hydrocarbon deposits by expanding petrochemical plants, which would significantly increase Iran's revenues compared to income from crude and gas exports with no added value.
Officials say 28 major petrochemical projects are lined up to go on stream by 2021 and should be funded mostly through foreign direct investment.
Iran aims to produce more than 40% of the Middle East’s total petrochemical output by 2021 and become the largest petrochemical producer in the region in a decade.