EghtesadOnline: In tandem with the government's push to build petrochemical complexes in the southern coastal region, some under-construction complexes are also considering relocation of sites to that area.
According to IRNA, the move is envisaged to have multiple advantages: feedstock would be more accessible since a majority of suppliers are located in the Persian Gulf region, transport and shipment can be cost-effective and more importantly, water supply would be less of a concern.
In line with the scheme, plans are underway to build Mokran Petrochemical Complex, Iran's largest petrochemical hub, in the southern Chabahar.
Mokran units' operations will be divided into three stages. The first involves converting natural gas to methanol used as feedstock in the second stage whose product is olefins. In the last stage, olefins and aromatics are used as feedstock in downstream industries, Financial Tribune reported.
The National Petrochemical Company has devised a feedstock discount scheme for investors in the industrial units of Mokran to help petrochem investors have a say in international markets.
Among other incentives is the 20-year tax exemption due to the hub's location in a free zone. Moreover, foreign investors can own 100% of the shares in Mokran's projects.
Low precipitation this year has posed another serious challenge to the development of the petrochemical industry in the central regions, making officials take the issue more seriously.
Refining, petrochemical and chemical industries need huge quantities of water. However, despite the country's semi-arid location, several petrochemical complexes have been built in central areas, where even the supply of water to residents is posing difficulties.
Jahrom, Firouzabad, Fasa and Darab petrochemical complexes in Fars Province, which have been designed with no regard to the region's water crisis, will reportedly be moved to the southern coastal regions.
The measure comes in the wake of NPC and Shiraz University's geological water assessments that show the implementation of such projects in the central province is not advisable.
According to IRNA, the water consumed by Jahrom, Fasa and Darab complexes amounts to 53 million liters per day, which equals to the water used by over 270,000 people.
Ibn Sina Petrochemical Complex in Hamedan Province and Khomein Petrochemical Complex in the namesake city in Markazi Province are other examples of such lack of prudence in locating water-intensive industries. Both projects await water supplies.
Tehran is making efforts to double petrochemical production capacity from around 60 million tons by opening up the sector to foreign investors. Over $70 billion in foreign investments are needed for 80 petrochemical projects.
The petrochemical sector is Iran’s second-most valuable industry after oil and gas.
Tehran earned $9.55 billion from petrochemical exports last year, official data show. Petrochemical consignments were mostly dispatched to Asia, Europe and South America.