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EghtesadOnline: Petrochemical plants and oil refineries use $400 million worth of catalysts a year, the majority of which is produced locally, managing director of the National Petrochemical Company said.

“The global catalyst market is worth $18 billion pa, of which 2.2% is used in Iran,” Behzad Mohammadi was quoted as saying by the Oil Ministry’s news portal.

Iranian companies use at least 23,000 tons of catalysts a year. Given, Due to the large size of Iran’s petroleum and petrochemical sector, most of the demand comes from related firms. Private companies produce 20,000 tons of catalysts a year, covering most of the demand.

Petrochemical and refining plants need 40 types of catalysts, 16 of which are produced with the help of several local companies, namely Sarv Oil and Gas, Pars Pigment and Catalyst, Gahar Seram, Nano Pars Spadana and Pishgaman Catalyst Pars, Financial Tribune quoted him as saying.

Catalyst consumption is rising and local companies are improving their R&D arms to add to their prowess as they race to keep up with the times and not fall back from their foreign competitors. 

“Today, and in the future, this will be vital for the petrochemical industry.”

A catalyst is a substance that speeds up a chemical reaction but is not consumed by the reaction. Most solid catalysts are metals or oxides, sulfides, and halides of metallic elements and of the semi-metallic elements such as boron, aluminum and silicon.

NPC has plans to indigenize nine more types of catalysts with the help of private companies by 2021, he said, but did not provide details.

“Catalysts play an essential role in the production of petroleum, polymers and chemicals, and that is why the  petrochemical industry’s growth is intertwined with the level of catalyst production.” 

Production of most key chemicals depends on catalysts. Selecting the right material for each product is a sensitive issue because any error in the catalyst can bring the entire petrochemical plant to a halt.

Referring to global figures, the NIPC official noted that the world market is expected to grow beyond expectation and reach $35 billion in 2025.



Steady Growth

Statistics show that crude oil consumption will rise by 1.3% a year, this is while the figure for the petrochemical sector is 3.5%, meaning that the latter’s growth will be three times that of oil, he added.

Mohammadi said the rising demand for catalysts from petroleum refineries, growing demand for polymers as well as the growth of chemical manufacturing industries are key factors driving the global catalyst market. 

However, volatility in raw material prices and technological advancement leading to reduced consumption of catalysts are anticipated to present a major challenge for growth of the catalyst market.  

In related news, NPC quoted the managing director of Petrochemical Research and Technology Company as saying that it has started selling domestic petrochemical companies SAC500 catalyst to help raise production of value-added goods.

"This type of catalyst plays a key role in production of pipe-grade high density polyethylene (PE-100)," Ali Pajouhan said.

Shazand Refinery in the central city of Arak, in Markazi Province, produces SAC500 on an industrial scale – close to 100 tons per year. 

He went on to say that this quality complies with the  German petrochemical giants’ Basel standards. 

SAC500 helps produce PE100 pipes used in oil, gas, water and wastewater networks. PE100 pipes are easy to install, light in weight, flexible, corrosion-free and last for at least half a century.


Iran petrochemical plants Petrochem Sector Supply Local Catalyst Producers Catalyst oil refineries