National Petrochemical Company (NPC)has appointed a new managing director, Asghar Ebrahimi-Asl, after the well respected Mohammed Reza Nematzadeh was given the refineries brief at the Oil Ministry (see page 6).

Ebrahimi-Asl, who also takes the rank of deputy minister, has served as governor of two provinces and headed Tehran’s metro. At the Oil Ministry, he worked on the South Pars phase 4-5 development project with Pars Oil & Gas Company (POGC). He is the youngest of the new deputy ministers appointed by new Oil Minister Kazem Vaziri-Hamaneh (MEED 16:12:05).

The new NPC head inherits a company with a stronger reputation among international financiers and contractors than its sister companies at the Oil Ministry. However, he will face some early tests regarding the role of foreign and local contractors in carrying out large-scale projects and in bringing projects to completion. Major NPC projects likely to move forward in the coming year include the massive olefins 12 plant at Assaluyeh and an extension of the ethylene pipeline transporting gas from South Pars to several new plants in the western provinces.

Industry sources in Tehran say Nematzadeh’s move suggests the minister wants to put a greater focus on the refining sector.