EghtesadOnline: Construction of Sabalan Petrochemical Plant in Asalouyeh, southern Bushehr Province is almost over, the managing director said.
An undertaking of Sepehr Energy Corporation (SECo), the plant will produce 1.65 million tons of methanol per year, Mohammad Zali was reported as saying by the Oil Ministry news agency Shana.
Located in South Pars Special Economy Energy Zone, the plant stretches over seven hectares. “When fully operational it will create 350 direct and 1,200 indirect jobs,” Zali said.
This is the first of three methanol projects developed by the SECo. The other two are Dena and Siraf projects still under construction. The company has said it will focus mainly on exports.
Dena methanol plant in Asalouyeh will have an annual production capacity of 1.65 million tons, and Siraf will produce the same volume in Dayyer County, Bushehr.
National Petrochemical Company data show Iran accounts for 5% of the world's total methanol production with exports to Iraq, China, the UAE, India and South Korea.
China is the world's largest methanol importer. It has major methanol-to-olefins capacity and imported 10 million tons of methanol in 2019. Iran is the largest exporter of methanol to that country supplying about 40% of its annual imports.
In the petrochemical industry methanol is used to create high-quality basic chemicals, the most important of which are formaldehyde, acetic acid, MTBE, methyl methacrylate, methyl chloride and methylamines, which are processed to produce other derivatives.
In August, Kaveh plant, the world’s largest methanol producing plant, came online in Bushehr with the capacity to produce 7,000 tons per day.
With the launch of new methanol plants, net methanol output capacity has doubled in two years reaching about 12.2 million tons a year.
The global methanol market is expected grow at a significant rate in the coming years, driven mainly by the increasing use of methanol (in the form of fuel and antifreeze agent) in the automotive industry. The methanol industry has experienced an explosive growth, primarily in China and the United States, owing to significant developments in shale gas.
In the coming years, methanol-based fuel cells will represent one of the promising sectors for the market. Initially, methanol-based fuel cells were aimed at automotive purposes. Preliminary uses are likely to remain in transportable power generation such as for laptops, cell phones, and digital cameras.
The application of fuel cells in customer electronics is also getting encouragement in countries permitting travelers to bring fuel cell cartridges along with them.