Iran-Venezuela joint venture, VenIran Petrochemical Company (VIPC), has shortlisted two consortiums for the estimated $350-400m contract to build a major new methanol plant at Assaluyeh.

The two bidders left in the running for the deal are Namvaran and Petrochemical Industries Design & Engineering Company (PIDEC), both of Iran, sources close to the project tell MEED.

Negotiations with Hamburg-based VIPC start on 24 May. Namvaran has formed a consortium with Kayson Construction, also of Iran. Contractors now hope to see a contract awarded by the end of September.

Eight firms bid for the deal to build the 1.6 million tonne a year (t/y) plant. The other bidders are:

  • Energy Industries Engineering & Design (Iran)
  • Haldor Topsoe (Denmark)
  • Lurgi (Germany)
  • Methanol Casale (Swiss)
  • Sazeh Engineering (Iran)
  • Toyo Engineering (Japan)

The scheme, which will promote business links between Venezuela and Iran, is the only Iranian petrochemicals project to move forward this year.

“Iran seems to be serious about this project. Perhaps because it is a joint venture with an important ally [Venezuela] and there is political weight behind the deal. One methanol plant will be built in Iran, and another in Venezuela,” says a source close to the deal.

The deal is seen as a replacement for the $500m Kharg Petrochemical Company’s (KPC) 730,000 t/y methanol plant project which was awarded in 2004, but cancelled in 2009 due to protracted financial problems, according to a Tehran-based contractor source (MEED 25:6:04).

The methanol production facility was to be built at Kharg Island, adjacent to the existing KPC methanol plant. An agreement for the plant’s engineering design was signed in 2006 between National Petrochemical Compnay (NPC) and EPC contractors, Namvaran and Iran Industrial Networks Development Company (IIND). But after no sign of progress for three years, the project was finally scrapped in 2009.