EghtesadOnline: With the launch of 13 petrochemical projects by March, Iran’s petrochemical production capacity will reach 90 million tons per year from the current 70 million tons.
Ten more projects are scheduled to be completed by March 2022, raising annual output capacity to 100 million tons, IRNA reported.
The petrochemical sector annually generates $15 billion in revenue and this will rise to $25 billion in less than two years.
Moreover, there are 28 other projects underway in different cities, some of which have registered 30% progress. When these come into operation, total yearly petrochemical production will reach 133 million tons in five years, worth $37 billion.
Domestic knowledge-based companies are fully involved in the construction process that is helping the non-oil sector, self-sufficiency and creating jobs.
One of the most important tasks of the petrochemical industry is to reduce the export of raw materials by completing the value chain in the oil and gas industry and also supply feedstock for downstream industries.
One of the items that will comprise a large part of the total output is methanol.
In 2025, methanol production is projected to reach 23 million tons per year, of which 5 million tons will be used to make propylene, managing director of the National Petrochemical Company said.
“At present, 950,000 tons of propylene is produced annually in the country, which is insufficient for domestic demand. We will increase this to 4 million tons in five years,” Behzad Mohammadi was quoted as saying by IRNA.
“Currently, propylene produced in petrochemical firms and refineries is made from propane, but in the forthcoming program, propylene will be produced from methanol,” he added.
Noting that most of the methanol is produced in Asalouyeh, Bushehr Province, the official said: "We plan to build a propylene complex in Asalouyeh to convert the extra methanol to propylene."
Methanol, also known as methyl alcohol amongst other names, is a light, volatile, colorless, flammable liquid with a distinctive alcoholic odor similar to that of ethanol.
NPC data show Iran accounts for 8% of the world's total methanol production with exports mainly to Iraq, China, the UAE, India and South Korea.
In the petrochemical industry methanol is used to create high-quality basic chemicals, the most important of which are formaldehyde, acetic acid, methyl methacrylate, methyl chloride and methylamines, which are processed to produce other derivatives.
Propylene is a colorless fuel gas with a naturally pungent smell. Although similar to propane, it has a double bond which gives it a combustion advantage i.e. it burns hotter. This fuel gas is extremely flammable and non-toxic. Propylene is obtained during the refining of gasoline.
Propylene is a strategic commodity. It can be transformed into value added products like polypropylene and create jobs in the downstream petrochemical sector.
Polypropylene -- the world's second-most widely produced synthetic plastic, after polyethylene -- is used in a variety of applications including packaging and labeling, textiles, carpets, stationery, plastic parts and reusable containers, laboratory equipment, loudspeakers, automotive parts and polymer banknotes.
In 2018, global propylene output was 120 million tons and is planned to reach 160 million tons by 2030, mostly due to propylene production plants that opening in Asia and the Middle East.