Under the next
administration of President Hassan Rouhani, Iranian petrochemical officials
intend to produce more feedstock at the giant South Pars gas field as more
petrochemical plants are to be built. The new plants are projected to be constructed
in new petrochemical hubs.
Mahshahr is home to 21
petrochemical plants with a total capacity of 25.6 million tonnes a year and
Assaluyeh is home to 13 petrochemical plants with an annual capacity of 24.3
million tonnes. They are Iran's main petrochemical hubs.
Since development of
industrial hubs is a key factor in the industrial development of countries, and
favorable and sustainable development of petrochemical industry in these hubs
hinges upon preparing general and specialized infrastructure, the NPC is
studying potential petrochemical hubs within the framework of its development
plan with a view to proximity to sources of feedstock, water and facilities for
Among the areas under
study for petrochemical projects are Special Petrochemical Zone in Mahshahr,
Parsian Energy Industry Site, Lavan Island, Qeshm Island, Jask and Chabahar.
Marzieh Shahdaei, CEO of
NPC, said Iran's petrochemical roadmap would require 36 new projects in the new
hubs. These new projects would add 60 million tonnes to the country's
petrochemical output capacity. That would be the third jump in Iran's
Future development of
petrochemical industry will not be limited to Bandar Imam and Assaluyeh as four
other hubs off Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman would also see new projects.
Parsian Special Economic
Zone in eastern Assaluyeh, Jask Free Zone located next to the Strait of Hormuz,
Chabahar Free Zone and nearby Iranshahr Free Zone are the four hubs.
In addition to these four
hubs, four mega-tone methanol and urea/ammoniac projects with capacities above
one million tonnes in Lavan and a number of GTP plants in the mainland are
envisaged. Since natural gas will be available in abundance in the near future,
the NPC intends to apply GTO and GTP technologies to produce olefin which is
crucial to downstream industrial development.
Senior NPC managers say
investments in the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman will continue. All Persian
Gulf and Sea of Oman coasts have potential to become petrochemical hubs due to
access to feedstock and high seas. The private sector is building new hubs in
Chabahar, Jask and Parsian. Iran has already laid out a pipeline as far away as
the Pakistani border for future transfer of gas. The pipeline has capacity to
carry 105 mcm/d of gas. Pakistan would be receiving 25 mcm/d of gas; therefore,
the pipeline would be able to supply more than 75 mcm/d of gas to petrochemical
plants in southeastern Iran.
Furthermore, railroads in
southeastern Iran and Chabahar Free Zone could be attractive for investors. Required
infrastructure is also envisaged to be erected in Jask, Parsian and Lavan.
In the near future,
natural gas will become the main feedstock for Iran's petrochemical plants
because ethane would not be easily accessible. Given Iran's huge gas deposits,
it will be one of the most reliable countries for investment in petrochemical
Iran, Suitable for
Iran enjoys unique
opportunities for petrochemical development thanks to its access to liquid and
gas feedstock required for this industry. Iran holds the largest hydrocarbon (oil
and gas) reserves in the world. There are also other advantages in Iran like
long sea borders in the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman that could save
foreign investors big sums in shipping products to target markets.
Educated and experienced
youth and the skills developed by designing, engineering, construction and
installation companies are among other advantages in Iran. Above all, with a
population of more than 80 million and easy access to important consumer
markets like Central Asia, Iraq, India and China, Iran would be attractive
enough for potential investors. Add to this Iran's free trade and special zones
that would allow foreign investors to invest alone and be exempted from taxes
and duties for 10 years.
"Iran envisages more
than 105 mcm/d of methane, 2.8 million tonnes a year of ethane, 2.1 million
tonnes a year of propane, butane and liquefied petroleum gas as well as four
million tonnes a year of naphtha as feedstock for its new petrochemical
projects in the future. Domestic and foreign companies that would operate these
projects will have no problem with feedstock," Shahdaei said.
consumes huge amounts of water and energy and many petrochemical units are
already facing water shortages and decline in exports. Therefore, development
of infrastructure in new hubs could be a top priority for petrochemical sector.
Top Regional Spot
Iran aims to become the
top petrochemical producer in the region by 2025and is currently exporting
petrochemicals to more than 40 countries. Iran's landmark nuclear deal with six
world powers and the ensuing lifting of sanctions have provided suitable
conditions for Iran to benefit from 400-million-strong markets in neighboring
countries. Given Iran's geopolitical position, these markets are highly
significant. Iran is instrumental in meeting basic needs in other countries.
After new development projects become operational by 2020, Iran's share of
petrochemical production in the Middle East region would reach 41%.
Under Iran's 6th
Five-Year Economic Development Plan, 55 million tonnes will be added to
production capacity, while 33 petrochemical plants plus eight supply chains for
the production of 60 types of products are planned.
Over the past 10 years,
the pace of provision of infrastructure for investment in the petrochemical
industry has been slowed down by sanctions. The Iranian government has tried
its best to make up for losses. Petrochemical industry is key to increasing
profitability and boosting Iran's status in economic ties in the region. The
industry must be paid attention to more seriously as there are powerful rivals.
In addition to gaining revenues from petrochemical industries, jobs will be
created and welfare will be provided to underprivileged areas.
The government's new
approach in developing petrochemical infrastructure is a sign of paying special
attention to the infrastructure in this sector and increasing advantages. Given
Iran's special conditions and its standing in energy commodity exchanges, as
well as its hydrocarbon reserves and paying more attention to petrochemical
industry is an important and strategic decision. By supporting the private
sector, the government is paving grounds for the presence of Iranian and
foreign investors. Iran's petrochemical industry has always been coherent
enough to attract investment. Such advantages would turn Iran into a big
petrochemical hub in the future to bring investors in.
who heads a top petrochemical holding in Iran, says Iran enjoys all tools,
capacities and necessary resources for a profitable petrochemical industry.
"No other country
enjoys such advantages altogether. Therefore, our country enjoys a new and rare
chance which no other investor does enjoy in the world," he said.
improvement in Iran's international relations and attraction of more investment
will promise a brighter future for the petrochemical industry," said
By completing some 60
petrochemical projects, which are 10 to 90% complete, Iran's current
petrochemical production capacity could be brought to 120 million tonnes.
implementing 36 new projects which need $41 billion, the annual output capacity
will exceed 180 million tonnes.
In the current calendar
year to March 2018, the completion of four projects which had remained incomplete
will add two million tonnes to the country's petrochemical production capacity.
Courtesy of Iran Petroleum