EghtesadOnline: The production of methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI) at the Karoun Petrochemical Company during the sixth month of the current Iranian year (Aug. 23-Sept. 22) had a 17.1% increase compared with the same period of last year, managing director of the company said.
“The company produced 3,250 tons of MDI last month, which was 475 tons more than the output in the same month of a year ago,” Alireza Seddiqi-Zadeh was also quoted as saying by the Energy Today website.
“It was the highest volume of the item produced in one month since the launch of the MDI production unit three years ago,” he said.
“With the rise in MDI production, the company also succeeded in raising its MDI-based pre-polymers.”
Seddiqi-Zadeh noted that in the first six months of the current fiscal year (March 21-Sept. 22), the sale of MDI-based pre-polymers accounted for 10% of the company’s total sales while their share was about 4% in the corresponding period of last year.
According to the official, the rise in the output of MDI and MDI-based pre-polymers has helped domestic customers purchase the items at a lower price, or else they would have to spend $15 million for purchasing the same from foreign countries.
An aromatic diisocyanate, MDI is used in products, including automotive polyurethane foams, refrigerators, freezers and construction materials.
An organic compound with two isocyanate groups is known as a diisocyanate that is used in the production of polyurethanes, a class of polymers.
Sole Isocyanates Producer in Middle East
Located in Mahshahr, Khuzestan Province, Karoun Petrochemical Company is the first producer of isocyanates in the Middle East and half its output is exported. Only nine companies in the world produce this chemical and Karoun is one of the exporters to Europe and Asia.
Isocyanates are important chemicals that are difficult to store and transport. Globally, about 8 million tons of isocyanates are produced annually.
The chemical is widely used in the manufacture of insulation, refrigerators, residential sheathing or commercial roofing, floor finishes, wood finishes and paint, adhesive and sealant compounds, automobile parts, shoe soles, roller-skate wheels and blood bags, among others.
Karoun also produces petrochemicals like toluene diisocyanate (40,000 tons a year), acid clorhidric (116,000 tons/year), nitric acid (92,000 tons/year), ortho toluenediamine (11,000 tons/year), meta toluenediamine (31,000 tons/year), nitrobenzene (40,000 tons/year) and aniline (30,000 tons/year).
Companies in Iraq, Turkey, India, Russia, Azerbaijan, Albania, Greece, Sweden, Peru, Kenya, Nigeria and Italy are the main foreign clients.
The company uses chlorine, carbon monoxide, hydrogen and toluene as raw materials to produce basic petrochemicals and final products with higher value added.
Karoun receives its feedstock from the Bandar Imam, Bu Ali Sina, Fanavaran, Arvand, Razi and Shahid Rasouli petrochemical plants.
“In 2017, Karoun Petrochemical Company 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, saving $51 million that were spent on importing other materials,” Seddiqi-Zadeh said.
Karoun Petrochemical Company started producing isocyanates through a joint venture with Chematur Engineering AB of Sweden. But the foreign company walked away after the reimposition of US sanctions on Iran in 2018.
“However, this did not discourage us and we focused on domestic experts and engineers and wrapped up the project,” he added.