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EghtesadOnline: Experts of the National Iranian Oil Refining and Distribution Company are producing 80% of catalysts required for manufacturing oil products, the company's commercial manager said.

"NIORDC possesses advanced knowhow to mass produce catalysts for the refining industry and commercialize them in international markets," Ali Ziar was also quoted as saying by Shana, the Oil Ministry's news agency on Monday. 

"The catalyst's formulation meets international criteria," he added.

According to the official, NIORDC, a subsidiary of the National Iranian Oil Company, is producing a large number of catalysts used for steam reforming, zinc oxidation, mercaptan oxidation and extraction, naphtha reforming and hydro treating, Financial Tribune reported.

"Stream turbines, pipes, tanks, valves, pumps, fluid meters and compressors are among other equipment designed and manufactured by NIORDC," he said, adding that to support local manufacturers, the company has banned the import of 300 equipment produced domestically.

Ziar noted that the company holds regular meetings with domestic enterprises to inform them about much-needed machinery and catalysts. 

"Plans are in place to establish a consortium in conjunction with local producers' association to maximize the process of providing engineering services and operations," he said.

"In line with efforts to bolster the position of domestic producers in foreign markets, NIORDC has signed long-term agreements with local firms for the production of catalysts and turbines, which can help improve the quality of domestic commodities."

The official emphasized that 80% of NIORDC's technical needs are met locally, yet more budget should be allocated to such ventures.

Iranian companies consume over 22,000 tons of various catalysts each year. Due to the large size of Iran’s petroleum and petrochemical industries, most of the demand comes from these sectors. 

Private companies produce 19,600 tons each year, covering a portion of the demand.

--- Methanation

According to Mohsen Bahmani, the lead researcher at Researchers of Petrochemical Research and Technology Company, the firm has developed a catalyst for methanation of synthesis gas.

"Plans are underway to mass produce the high-tech material for its commercialization in the international markets," he said, noting that the catalyst has been tested and approved by potential European buyers and talks are being held with several firms for sales or joint ventures.

Methanation is the reaction by which carbon oxides and hydrogen are converted to methane and water. The reaction is catalyzed by nickel catalysts.  The two main uses of methanation are to purify synthesis gas and manufacture methane.

Synthesis gas is a fuel gas mixture consisting primarily of hydrogen, carbon monoxide, and very often some carbon dioxide. It is used for producing ammonia or methanol.

"The product has also been registered with the European Patent Office and the International Patent System. Our catalyst will soon be offered in the global markets under PRTC's brand," he said.

Bahmani believes collaboration with international patent holders can help PRTC have a say in global markets.

"There are currently five active complexes manufacturing methanol, including Zagros Petrochemical Company with a capacity of 5,000 tons per day, Fanavaran Petrochemical Company that produces 3,000 tons per day and Shiraz Petrochemical Complex with 250 tons per day," he said.

Catalysts help break down crude oil to petroleum and petrochemical products. They are central to making methanol—as an alternative to petroleum-based fuels—and ammonia, which are used in fertilizers and also as a building block for the synthesis of many pharmaceuticals. 

Bahmani noted that Iran has made significant inroads in petrochemical industry and unfinished ventures should be completed as quickly as possible.


NIORDC Catalysts