EghtesadOnline: Karoon Petrochemical Company, in the southwestern port city of Mahshahr in Khuzestan Province, is the only producer of isocyanates in Iran. Half the output is for domestic use and the rest is exported, managing director of the company said.
"Isocyanates are important chemicals that are difficult to store and transport. Globally about 8 million tons of isocyanates are produced annually. Only nine companies in the world produce it and Karoon is one. We currently export to Europe and Asia,” ILNA quoted Alireza Sediqizadeh as saying.
“Our products are competitive with European and East Asian products both in price and quality,” he noted.
Isocyanates are a family of highly reactive, low molecular weight chemicals widely used in the manufacture of polyurethane foams, insulation, household refrigerators and board or laminate form, residential sheathing or commercial roofing, floor finishes, wood finishes and paint, adhesive and sealant compounds, automobile parts, shoe soles, roller skate wheels, pond liners and blood bags.
Karoon Plant is also the first producer of isocyanates in the Middle East. Its production of toluene diisocyanate (TDI), which is its main product, amounts to 40,000 tons a year.
The company also produces other petrochemicals such as methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI) (40,000 tons) acid clorhidric (116,000 tons), nitric acid (92,000 tons), ortho toluenediamine (11,000 tons), Meta toluenediamine (31,000 tons), nitrobenzene (40,000 tons) and aniline (30,000 tons).
Companies in Iraq, Turkey, India, Russia, Azerbaijan, Albania, Greece, Sweden, Peru, Kenya, Nigeria and Italy are the main foreign buyers.
“In 2017 we imported about $60 million worth of raw materials to produce isocyanates. This declined to $9 million in 2019 with the efforts of domestic experts and engineers who were able to manufacture the essential raw materials. This saved $51 million that was spent on importing other materials,” Sediqizadeh said.
Iran was a large importer of polyols, which are co-components of isocyanates and used together in the production of PU foam products. It mainly imported polyols from northeast Asia, where most producers are based.
Although Iran still imports the material, the CEO hopes that next year (starting March 2021), “we will no longer need to import in this sector and celebrate the self-sufficiency of this product.”
“Karoon Petrochemical Company started producing isocyanates through a joint venture with Chematur Engineering AB of Sweden. However, the foreign company walked away,” he added. “This did not discourage us and we focused on domestic experts and engineers and wrapped up the project”.