VenIran Petrochemicals Company (VIPC), an Iran-Venezuela joint venture is reviewing its plans for a methanol plant in Venezuela.

The joint venture aims to develop two major methanol plants in each of the investing countries. Sources in Iran say that while “the Iranian partner however is determined to proceed with the methanol plant”, the Venezuela methanol scheme is being reviewed.

“The [Venezuelan] government now wants to withdraw from the initial plan to build a gas sweetening and sulphur removal plants instead”, says a source close to the project.

Firms bidding for the Venezuela plant include two Iranian engineering companies, bidding in consortium with international partners; Sazeh Engineering and Energy Industries Engineering & Design. Other firms include:

  • Toyo Engineering (Japan)
  • Methanol Casale (Switzerland)
  • Haldor Topsoe (Denmark)
  • Lurgi (Germany)

Commercial offers were due to be opened in a ceremony with the Iranian Oil Minister, Masoud Mirkazemi in the week ending 14 August. That did not happen as Mirkazemi cancelled his trip to Venezuela.

VIPC shortlisted two local consortiums in May for the deal led by Namvaran and Petrochemical Industries Design & Engineering Company. The companies submitted bids for the $350-400m engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract on 23 July.  A contract is expected to be awarded in September (MEED 22:5:10).

The plant at Assaluyeh in the south of Iran is widely seen as a replacement for the Kharg Petrochemical Company’s (KPC) 730,000 tonne-a-year (t/y) methanol project, which was cancelled in 2009.

The two countries have become increasingly close as Iran’s international isolation grows. On 4 August, Hossein Noghrehkar Shirazi announced that their intention to establish a joint venture shipping company, which would ship Venezuelan crude oil to European and Asian markets.