NPC Eying FDI for Incomplete Ventures
EghtesadOnline: The completion of unfinished petrochemical initiatives should gain momentum with the allocation of new financial resources, a major part of which ought to come from foreign direct investment, director of planning and development at the National Petrochemical Company said on Wednesday.
"Neither new plans nor ongoing ventures can be developed without winning international energy majors' trust to invest in the country," Farnaz Alavi was also quoted as saying by NIPNA, the official news agency of National Petrochemical Company.
Pointing to financial restrictions as the most important hurdle to expand petrochemical development projects, Alavi said, "NPC is making concerted efforts to help domestic investors develop their plans as scheduled, but as long as foreign investments are not attracted, ventures will be postponed indefinitely."
According to the official, some projects are progressing slowly and some have come to a halt due to financing constraints, Financial Tribune reported.
Alavi also called for assigning unfinished ventures to new shareholders, as previous investors were unable to fulfill their tasks.
Attaching great importance to accelerating the completion of protracted ventures, she said NPC has always acted as a facilitator to help investors implement their development plans without facing the least legal obstacles.
According to Alavi, introducing Iran’s petrochemical industry potential for growth, exploring the means of expanding the industry’s mid- and down-stream sectors via joint ventures and attraction of international finance should top NPC's agenda to help reach the annual output capacity of 120 million tons by 2020.
Pointing to preliminary agreements on building petrochemical plants and transferring technology with international majors, including Germany's BASF, Royal Dutch Shell and Japan's Sojitz Corporation, she said, "Collaboration among domestic and international petrochemical holdings can help meet the existing challenges and raise efficiency because of attracting investment and transferring technical know-how."
Energy experts believe that Iran's strategic location in the region, large hydrocarbon reserves, skilled human resources and access to raw material as well as proximity to international waterways are among key factors attracting foreign firms to the petrochemical sector.
According to Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh, the resources of the National Development Fund of Iran are insufficient to develop the petrochemical infrastructure, because of which Tehran is keen on promoting direct foreign investment by offering incentives, such as inexpensive feedstock prices for the long term.
"In line with policies to complete the value chain in the petrochemical sector, increase production of value-added commodities and develop new energy hubs in the region, 30 new projects are planned to be developed by the end of the Sixth Economic Development Plan (2017-22), which requires billions of dollars in investments," Zanganeh said.
Energy officials, including Marzieh Shahdaei, the head of NPC, have called on foreign investors to visit the port cities of Asalouyeh and Bandar Imam Khomeini "to see the developments in the last 15-20 years and gauge Iran's industrial potentials".
Asalouyeh in Bushehr Province is the largest energy hub in the country and supplies the bulk of Iran's petrochemical output. Bandar Imam Khomeini is one of the busiest transit and shipping ports in the Persian Gulf.