EghtesadOnline: To underpin the sustainable supply of feedstock to petrochemical plants, the first phase of a natural gas liquid (NGL) recovery plant became operational in Kangan Petro Refining Company (KPRC) in Bushehr Province, the head of the company said.
“Costing $1 billion, the processing facility has an annual production capacity of 3.5 million tons of NGLs and will help complete the value chain and development of downstream petrochemical sector,” Hamid Qaderi was also quoted as saying by the Oil Ministry’s news portal on Sunday.
Undertaken by domestic engineers, the venture’s completion took five years, he added.
The project was funded by Ahdaf Investment Firm, a subsidiary of Iran's Oil Pension Fund Investment Company.
“The NGL processing plant receives 21 million tons of natural gas [as feedstock] per year from Phase 12 of the South Pars Gas Field in the Persian Gulf for producing 2 million tons of ethane, 1 million tons of propane, 500,000 tons of butane and 250,000 tons of pentane annually,” the KPRC chief said.
Referring to the second phase, Qaderi noted that the plan has made 50% physical progress and is expected to come on stream in 2022.
“Exporting the commodities to international markets will generate at least $1 billion a year in revenues for KPRC,” he said.
Constructed on a 65-hectare plot of land, the project has created jobs for more than 1,000 people in the southern province.
NGLs are a group of hydrocarbons, including pentane, ethane, propane and butane. These are differentiated from one another by the number of carbon atoms in their molecular chain. They have a wide variety of applications ranging from specialized fuels (e.g., propane, butane) to petrochemical feedstock for making products like plastic and fertilizers.
“In addition to receiving 2 million barrels of crude per day, the 55 petrochemical companies in Iran annually use 35 million tons of natural and liquefied gas as feedstock to produce 60 million tons of products,” Qaderi said.
Boosting Feedstock Supply
To help boost annual NGL feedstock supply by 14 million tons, six projects costing $7.5 billion are in different stages of construction and will come on stream in 2022.
These initiatives are chiefly aimed at collecting and utilizing natural gas flared in the southern oil and gas fields.
The Parsian Sepehr Refinery, with two plants in Fars and Bushehr provinces, and three natural gas liquid projects, namely Dehloran Gas Refinery in Ilam Province, Kharg NGL Plant on Kharg Island off the Persian Gulf and the NGL 3200 project in Khuzestan Province, are being completed.
According to the KPRC chief, NGL 3100, a gas venture to collect and process associated petroleum gas from oilfields in Ilam and Dezful, will get 6 million cubic meters of gas per day from Dehloran, Paydar, West Paydar and Cheshmeh oilfields (all in Ilam Province).
In related news, Jalal Mirhashemi, director of Production Control Department at the National Petrochemical Company, said petrochemical companies produced 56 million tons of products between March 22, 2020, and Feb. 1. The output is projected to exceed 61 million tons by March 20, ILNA reported.
Despite the coronavirus pandemic and US sanctions, the figure reveals a 9% growth in volume compared with the same period of last fiscal year. Petrochemical plants manufacture 333 grades of polymers, plus 40 types of chemicals.
Close to $7 billion were invested in the sector in the past six years. Giving a breakdown, Mirhashemi said in the past six years, NPC’s annual output has risen from 23 million tons to 61 million tons, up 165%.
Of the total annual output, 35% or 21 million tons are bought by local companies and converted into value-added products and the rest is exported.
Regarding exports, he said NPC generated $12 billion in 2013. Revenue grew by 40% in the next six years to $17 billion a year. The rising trend created one million jobs, especially in the southern regions where most petrochemical plants are located.
Referring to petrochemical plants need for catalysts, Mirhashemi said the global catalyst market is worth $18 billion, of which 2.2% belong to Iran.
Iran’s petrochemical sector uses $400 million worth of catalysts a year, most of which is produced locally.