EghtesadOnline: Pars Special Energy Economic Zone in the southern Bushehr Province has attracted investments worth $98 billion since 1998, the PSEEZ investment director said.
"Bulk of the investment was in the petrochemical and natural gas projects," Majid Asgharian was quoted as saying by the National Iranian Oil Company's news portal.
Giving a breakdown on the projects, he said $68 billion has been spent on gas development plans, mainly offshore and onshore operations in the South Pars Gas Field in the Persian Gulf in Assalouyeh region.
"An estimated $28 billion went into petrochemical industries," he added, noting that the projects mainly include polypropylene and ethylene glycol development initiatives, according to Financial Tribune.
PSEEZ has invested $2 billion in infrastructure, including road construction, port development, water supply projects, green areas and environment, hotels, coastal parks, telecom projects, power supply projects, passenger and consignment terminal constructions, he said.
PSEEZ comprises of three regions, namely Pars One (South Pars) covering 14,000 hectares, Pars Two (Pars Kangan) over 16,000 hectares and Pars Three (North Pars) stretching 16,000 hectares.
Referring to the region's unique attraction for investors, Asgharian said access to international waters and easy transportation, besides the abundance of feedstock for petrochemical plants, are among the PSEEZ key features.
Moreover, manufacturers and industrial investments are tax exempt. Foreign investment and ownership (except land) is allowed up to 100%. Importing raw materials, machinery and spare parts are duty free.
According to the PSEEZ official, 17 petrochemical plants have been built in the region over two decades and 19 are under construction.
Petrochemicals account for 30% of Iran’s non-oil exports.
The industry has shown solid sustainable growth over the past five years and petrochemical installed capacity has reached 64 million tons per annum.
Asgharian said Iran sits on the world's largest natural gas reserves and the North and South Pars joint fields, with an estimated 6.8% of global proven reserves, are seen as magnets for foreign and domestic investment.
There are various estimates on which country holds the largest natural gas reserves. Iran (34 trillion cubic meters) and Russia (32.6 tcm) have the largest proven gas reserves, according to BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2015.
But the US Energy Information Association places Russia ahead of Iran with an estimated 49 tcm in reserves. Iran, Russia and Qatar together hold nearly half the world's proven gas reserves.