EghtesadOnline: A methanol production unit of Apadana Petrochemical Plant will come on line in 2021, the managing director told reporters on Monday.
“Under license of the Swiss company Casale, the project has registered 47% progress and is expected to go on stream in mid-2021,” the Oil Ministry news agency Shana quoted Jalil Qasami as saying.
Casale is a privately-owned Swiss Company that offers a range of services for the production of ammonia, urea, melamine and methanol.
With annual production capacity of 1.650 million tons, the unit will cost $511 million, Financial Tribune reported.
“The methanol will be of high quality with purity at 99.9%,” Qasami said, adding that the entire output will be for export.
With the recently launched petrochemical complexes, including Marjan, Kharg, Fanavaran, Kaveh and Zagros, “Iran now produces 8.3 million tons of methanol a year, of which 300,000 tons are used domestically and the rest is exported,” he said.
Even China that has an annual methanol output of 60 million tons imports 10 million tons a year, which shows the potential of the market, Qasami said.
“The methanol produced in China mostly comes from coal and pollutes the environment. Our methanol is produced from natural gas that is more eco-friendly,” he added.
Located in Asalouyeh County in southern Bushehr Province, Apadana Petrochemical Company is a subsidiary of Persian Gulf Petrochemical Company.
Three more projects are underway to help complete the value chain of methanol. When fully operational the three plants will add 10 million tons to the total annual output.
Sabalan Methanol Project has made 80% progress and Dena Methanol Project is 60% through, while Siraf Methanol Project’s progress is reported at 40%.
Sabalan and Dena in Asalouyeh will have an annual production capacity of 1.650 million tons a piece.
Siraf will produce the same amount in Dayyer County, Bushehr, and focus mainly on exports.
Global methanol demand will grow by 6.5% in the next three years based on data from Methanex, the world’s largest producer and supplier of methanol.
National Petrochemical Company data show Iran accounts for 8% of the world's total methanol production and its exports go to Iraq, China, the UAE, India and South Korea.
China, which has a large methanol-to-olefin capacity, is a natural target market for Iranian suppliers. China’s top five importers account for 60% of Iranian methanol.
Between March 2017 and 2018, Iran’s methanol exports generated $1 billion (1USD=35,000 rials).
Relatively cheap feedstock plus demand from Asia has contributed to robust growth of the methanol industry n in the past decade.
Since methanol is readily available and extremely efficient, it is extensively used in the auto industry as transportation fuel and antifreeze agent for car radiators.
In addition, it is used in manufacturing dimethyl ether (DME) and methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE), which are safer alternatives to traditional gasoline. It also forms an essential component of biodiesel and is used in internal combustion engines.
Apart from this, the alcohol has numerous other applications in the manufacturing of formaldehyde, acetic acid and methyl acetate. These chemicals are used in the production of adhesives, paints, plywood, solvents, foams, plastics and explosives.
Since methanol biodegrades easily and is eco-friendly in nature, it is preferred over counterparts like crude oil, gasoline and diesel.