The future of Iranian petrochemicals

28 September 2001

With 15 per cent of the world's proven gas reserves, Iran is perfectly placed to meet the growing demand for petrochemicals in Asia and Western Europe, according to Mohammed Rahbari, managing director of the international division of the National Petrochemical Company (NPC). Rahbari was speaking in London on 25 September at the MEED Future Developments in Petrochemicals in the Middle East conference, where he outlined NPC's plans for expansion.

The Bandar Imam Khomeini petrochemicals special economic zone (Petzone) was established in 1995, and three years later a second site was established to exploit the development of the South Pars offshore gas field. The South Pars reservoir is estimated to contain 23 million million cubic metres of natural gas and will yield 6.4 million tonnes a year (t/y) of ethane, the principal feedstock of the petrochemicals industry.

Four major olefins facilities based in the Petzone are expected to come on stream in the next three years, with a combined capacity of 3 million t/y of ethylene.

NPC's expansion plans are already drawing foreign companies. In March, France's Technipwas awarded a $262 million contract to build the ethane cracker for the olefins 10 plant for the local Jam Petrochemical Company, an NPC subsidiary. Local and international companies are lining up to bid for the construction of an ethane cracker in Bandar Assaluyeh, while NPC plans to issue tenders late this year for an ammonia plant at the existing Razi petrochemical complex at Bandar Imam, and a worldscale polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plant in the Petzone (MEED 5:10:01).

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