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EghtesadOnline: Expansion of the petrochemical sector has continued as planned and $24 billion has been invested in development projects since 2014, National Petrochemical Company's deputy for investment said.

"Return on investment in petrochemical projects is guaranteed 100% and this is the reason the sector has attracted significant domestic and foreign investments," Hussein Alimorad was also quoted as saying by Shana Monday. 

Access to low-cost feedstock plus domestic and international markets have had a major in boosting the sector, he said.

"Regarding the former, there is an abundance of natural gas as feedstock for petrochem plants in Iran." In addition to the huge domestic market, there are 13 neighboring states with a 400-million strong market in need of polymers. There also are eager buyers in the Far East, according to Financial Tribune.

The official was of the opinion that foreign investors should be given priority because overseas investment is a sort of insurance policy.    

"The more foreigners invest in a region, the less it will be exposed to risks and insecurity."

Referring NPC policy to attract financers, he said both domestic and international investors can receive up to 30% discount on feedstock. 

Denying claims in the local media that NPC is averse to any private sector role in completing pending projects, he said, "Private firms are incapable of funding mega projects and most bank on government resources."



Lower Priority 

Alimorad admitted that the government has more than its share of financial constraints and developing the petrochemical industry is not among top priorities.

"Prior to assigning them projects, NPC wants private companies to show that they are capable of funding at least 20% of a project, which normally need $400 million." 

There are 105 incomplete ventures requiring $55 billion. Of this number 64 have registered a work-in-progress rate of 20%.

Multinationals are interested in expanding their foothold in Iran but are afraid of being ostracized by the United States and its sanctions regime.

"Negotiations are underway with 15 international companies for 13 projects," he said, emphasizing that return on investment in petrochem ventures in Iran can be as high as 20%, but out of Iran the margin of the same investments is hardly 6%.

Talks with a consortium of Philippine and Chinese companies have been finalized and they have agreed to invest $7 billion to build a petrochemical complex in Khuzestan Province to convert methanol to added value products. 

The project will be completed in two phases. an estimated $2.8 billion will be invested in the first phase.

The Petrochemical Research and Technology Company of Iran has finalized an agreement with France's Air Liquide Engineering and Construction Company on  technology transfer and granting licenses to convert methanol to propylene (MTP) under the PARS MTP brand.

Tehran earned $9.55 billion from petrochemical exports in 2017, official data show. Bulk of the shipments went to Asia, Europe and South America.


Iran petrochemical sector profit margin Petrochem Industry