EghtesadOnline: Iran's Research Institute of Petroleum Industry signed a contract with a private company to indigenize hydrocracking and reduced crude desulfurization (RCD) catalysts used for gasoline production.
The agreement was signed in the presence of Jafar Tofiqi, the RIPI head and Alireza Rezaee, deputy director for Iran Exir Novin Farayand Asia Company in Tehran on Thursday, IRNA reported.
"The catalysts play a key role in converting low-value added crude oil to high value-added commodities like gasoline," Tofiqi said after the signing ceremony, adding that as much as $57 million is spent on importing this product per annum.
As per the 10-year agreement, the company will produce 2,500 tons of RCD catalyst plus 1,000 tons of hydrocracking catalyst a year for refineries, according to Financial Tribune.
Most international firms namely Honeywell UOP have refused to sell to Iran important catalysts due to the new US sanctions. As a result building closer working ties to domestic companies has become a priority of the Oil Ministry.
According to the official, the first cargo of RCD catalyst will be delivered to Arak Refinery's Residue Fluid Catalytic Cracking Unit by March. The refinery produces 10 million liters of gasoline per day and could face a shut down if the catalyst is not available on time.
"Production of value-added goods like petrochemicals and gasoline depends largely on access to a vast array of catalysts, 80% of which are produced by local firms," Ali Ziar, the commercial manage for National Iranian Oil Refining and Distribution Company said.
NIORDC, a subsidiary of the National Iranian Oil Company, is producing several types of catalysts “for steam reforming, zinc oxidation, mercaptan oxidation and extraction, naphtha reforming and hydro treating,” he said.
Support for Domestic Firms
Stream turbines, pipes, tanks, valves, pumps, fluid meters and compressors are among other equipment designed and manufactured by NIORDC. "To help support local manufacturers, the company has banned the import of 300 items are made domestically.”
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 but stressed that extra funds are necessary for sustaining the companies that supply to the NIORDC and its associates.
Domestic refineries companies annually need almost 22,000 tons of catalysts of which 19,600 tons are produced by private firms.