Four local companies have submitted bids for Iran’s first dimethyl ether (DME) plant at Assaluyeh. The client, Zagros Petrochemical Company, is expected to open commercial proposals in late July.

The four bidders for the project are Petrochemical Industries Design & Engineering Company (PIDEC), Sazeh Consult, Narganand Namvaran. The project is to be carried out on an engineering and procurement (EP) basis over an 18-month period. Zagros is an affiliate of National Petrochemical Company (NPC)but also has some private shareholders including Alyaf Morvarid & Pooshineh Industry.

The project will have capacity of 800,000 tonnes a year (t/y) of DME, which is to be used domestically unless the export market rapidly improves. DME is a cleaner and more efficient product than fuel oil, diesel or petrol. The plant will use technology licensed by Denmark’s Haldor Topsoe.

Other Zagros projects at Assaluyeh include the fourth methanol plant, which was completed by Germany’s Lurgiand PIDEC last year with capacity of 1.6 million t/y, and the sixth methanol project with the same capacity. The product from the latter will be used to feed the new DME unit and could also provide feedstock for a methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) unit at a later stage.