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EghtesadOnline: Iran’s Persian Gulf Petrochemical Industries Co. is in talks with Asian companies to raise as much as 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) for an expansion including a methanol project intended to serve China and other Asian customers.

An Italian company is “in the forefront” as a potential investor in the company, according to Touraj Seyed Arvanaghi, managing director of Persian Gulf Petrochemical’s Veniran Apadana methanol project in Asaluyeh in western Iran on the Persian Gulf coast. He declined to identify the companies until negotiations are concluded, Bloomberg reported.

Iran’s petrochemicals industry needs $60 billion in foreign investment to more than double chemicals production capacity over the next decade, according to Marzieh Shahdaei, deputy oil minister and managing director of state-run National Petrochemical Co. The nation has already boosted its crude production since international sanctions were eased in January, to almost 4 million barrels a day from 2.8 million barrels at the end of last year, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Veniran Apadan is seeking to produce 1.65 million metric tons of methanol a year for export to China and other parts of Asia, Arvanaghi said. Methanol is used as an antifreeze and in feedstock to produce acetic acid and formaldehyde. The project is expected to cost 450 million euros, with 354 million euros for equipment. In February, Japan signed a memorandum of cooperation to provide up to $10 billion of financing for Iranian projects involving Japanese companies. Japan’s Marubeni Corp. got an order for equipment for Persian Gulf Petrochemical about two months ago.

Veniran Apadan, initially set up by Venezuela and Iran, is seeking to change its name through the government’s Organization for Registration of Companies, Arvanaghi said.

Iran petrochemical Persian Gulf Petrochemical