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EghtesadOnline: The Parsian Sepehr Gas Refinery became operational on Thursday in Fars Province, head of the company’s board of directors said.

“Costing $1.1 billion, the natural gas liquid recovery plant has an annual capacity of 3.2 million tons of NGL. It will help complete the value chain and develop the downstream petrochemical sector,” Gholamhossein Nozari was quoted as saying by the Oil Ministry news portal.

The huge facility will receive 70 million cubic meters of natural gas from Homa, Tabnak, Varavi and Shanoul gas fields (in Fars Province) a day and produces 3.2 million tons of ethane, propane and butane as feedstock to petrochemical plants in Asalouyeh, Bushehr Province, via a 63-km pipeline, Nozari said.

“An estimated 16 mcm of methane will also be produced annually for feeding the national gas grid.”

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 (propane, butane) to petrochemical feedstock too manufacture plastics and fertilizers.

Local Firms

Domestic firms (Hampa Engineering Corporation, Darya Sahel Co. and Energy Gostar Nasir Co.) built the plant in five years, he added.

The project was funded by the National Development Fund of Iran, the sovereign wealth fund, Tadbir Energy Development Group, Parsian Financial Group and Pars Oil Company.

The refinery is estimated to generate at least $1 billion a year.

In related news, ILNA quoted Behzad Mohammadi, managing director of the National Petrochemical Company, as saying that 55 petrochemical companies in Iran annually use 35 million tons of natural and liquefied gas as feedstock to produce 32 million tons of products.

To boost NGL feedstock supply by 11 million tons a year, three projects costing $6.4 billion are in different stages of construction and are scheduled to come on stream by 2023.

The projects are chiefly aimed at collecting and using flared gas from the southern oil and gas fields.

“Three natural gas liquid projects, namely Dehloran Gas Refinery in Ilam Province, Kharg NGL Plant in Kharg Island off the Persian Gulf and the NGL 3200 project in Khuzestan Province, are being completed.”

According to Mohammadi, NGL 3100, a 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 (in Ilam Province).

Catalyst Units

In addition to the Sepehr Gas Refinery, two propylene and polyethylene catalyst units, worth $10 million, went on stream in Shazand County in Markazi Province on Thursday.

The units have an annual capacity of 32 tons which meets nearly half the demand of the domestic market, the NPC chief added.

“Domestic petrochemical plants and oil refineries use $400 million worth of catalysts a year, 40% of which is produced locally. Iranian companies use at least 23,000 tons of catalysts a year.”

Catalysts are key to producing petroleum, polymers and chemicals, and the petrochemical industry’s growth is intertwined with catalyst production. Likewise, production of most key chemicals depends on catalysts.

Data show global crude oil consumption will rise by 1.3% a year by 2025 if the deadly coronavirus becomes a thing of the past. Growth for the petrochemical sector is forecast at around 3.5%. 

The international catalyst market, now worth $18 billion per annum, is expected to grow exponentially and reach $35 billion by 2025. 

The Majlis Research Center said in a report in 2020 that Iran will need 29,000 tons of catalysts a year by 2026 worth an estimated $692 million for use in the petrochemical, refining and gas sectors.


gas Fars province refinery