EghtesadOnline: Petrochemical companies in Iran produced 30 million tons in the last fiscal that ended in March, of which 22 million tons were sold in global markets, managing director of National Petrochemical Company said.
“Exports earned $10 billion. Moreover, 8 million tons of petrochemicals worth $5 billion were sold in the domestic market,” ISNA quoted Behzad Mohammadi as saying.
Regarding expansion programs for the key sector, he said 16 development plans are underway and six are projected to go on stream in the current fiscal at an estimated cost of $12 billion.
Bidboland Persian Gulf Gas Refinery in Behbahan County, Khuzestan Province, Masjed Soleyman Petrochemical Company's ammonium and urea units in Khuzestan Province, Hegmataneh Petrochemical Plant in Hamedan, and Kangan Petro Refining Complex -- a major petrochemical and refinery project in Bushehr Province -- are among projects slated to become operational in 2020.
These projects will add 30% (20 million tons) to NPC’s annual output capacity that presently is almost 66 million tons.
Referring to the current propylene output at about 980,000 tons a year, he noted that overall demand for this type of gaseous hydrocarbon is much higher would increase.
The NPC chief went on to say that “studies show we are facing a shortage of propylene (200,000 tons) and if no action is taken the deficit will grow to 700,000 tons in five years”.
Propylene is a strategic commodity and can be transformed into value added products like polypropylene and create jobs in the downstream petrochemical sector.
To ease the growing shortage, a development plan has been drawn up for raising annual propylene production to three million tons.
“The plan will be implemented in three regions in the south, west and north of the country.”
The first region is Asalouyeh in southern Bushehr Province, which is suitable due to methanol surplus, he said. The second is Eslamabad-e-Gharb County in western Kermanshah Province where construction of a petrochemical plant has started. It will include a methanol-to-polypropylene unit.
Construction is underway with the involvement of Iranian engineers and is designed to annually produce 120,000 tons of polypropylene.
“The third region is Amirabad District of Nour County in northern Mazandaran Province,” Mohammadi said, adding that infrastructure in the region is in place for the construction of a petrochemical complex to produce propylene.
Already a major component of the global energy market, the role and significance of petrochemicals continues to grow. Demand for plastics – the most familiar group of petrochemical products – has outpaced almost all other bulk materials (steel, aluminum or cement), and has nearly doubled since 2000.
Petrochemicals are rapidly becoming the largest driver of global oil demand, he recalled, adding that the growth in demand means petrochemicals would account for over a third of the growth in oil demand to 2030, and nearly half in 2040.
Petrochemical factories in Iran are projected to consume an additional 56 billion cubic meters of natural gas by 2030, equivalent to about 20% of annual gas consumption now (255 bcm).
According to Jalal Mirhashemi, director of NPC’s production control affairs, petrochemical and polymer output exceeded 25 million tons in the first five months of the current fiscal (March 21-August 22).
This was up 6% (1.5 million tons) compared to the same period a year ago. Petrochemicals account for 35% of Iran’s non-oil exports.