A group of foreign participants in the 12th Iran Petrochemical Forum (IPF), went on a one-day tour to petrochemical complexes in the Pars Special Economic Energy Zone (PSEEZ), located in the port city of Assaluyeh, southwestern Bushehr Province.
The petrochemical complexes receive gas and gas condensate feedstock from the giant South Pars gas field, which Iran shares with Qatar in the Persian Gulf.
Amit Chaturvedi, the senior vice president of Reliance Industries Limited, an Indian conglomerate holding company, said: “There are fantastic facilities in Assaluyeh. You have an advantage in terms of having the rich sources of feedstock.”
“You have done wonderful work in Assaluyeh. So, the future of Iran’s petrochemical industry looks very bright,” he noted.
Donald McMillan, the senior marketing manager in Greece’s Eletson Gas Maritime Ltd., which operates liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) shipping, described Iran’s petrochemical projects as “very, very impressive”.
“We are very interested in exporting ethylene and propylene, LPG and ammonia from the port, and I think there are many exciting terms ahead,” he announced.
“Iran has many petrochemical potentials and I think it’s going to be very welcomed in the global markets as an opportunity to have a different source. It can be very very exciting after sanctions removal,” he added.
About the downsides of making investment in Iran’s petrochemical projects, McMillan said: “The real concern is that we structured entry to the market to make sure that prices don’t collapse on the back of over production.”
It is worth mentioning that Eletson Gas Maritime Ltd. owns and operates one of the world’s largest fleets of medium and long range product tankers.
Dr. Shamil Hakimov, the deputy general director of the State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR), said: “After my today’s short visit to Assaluyeh, I see a very promising future for Iran’s petrochemical industry. We are willing to make investment in this site [Assaluyeh] both in gas and petrochemical projects, specially the petrochemical ones.”
“Azerbaijan and Iran are two neighboring countries. They have had good relations since the past and as the sanctions are being lifted against Iran, we hope that our bilateral relations will get even better,” he stated.
Monique Quant, a marketing consultant from the United Kingdom, said: “It looks like there are a lot of potentials in Iran’s petrochemical industry and we just have to wait for the sanctions to come off.”
“For me, Assaluyeh is fascinating. I have never been in such a big petrochemical site before. It is enormous. I understand that there was nothing here 16 years ago and as very little has happened in the past five years, so it has all developed in 11 years”, she noted.
Also, Natasha Alperowicz, the executive editor of UK’s HIS Chemical Week, the world’s leading news source for chemical industry executives and professionals around the globe, who also participated in the tour, said: “I was very impressed by the number of participants in the IPF. The presentations were quite good. I am very impressed with the progress that Iran is making. It has obviously a lot of hydrocarbon resources and a large population, so the market is here, you know, as well as you can export. Iran is giving a big opportunity. The people I speak with, including engineering and construction companies and the producers, they all rely on the sanctions being lifted to actually boost their sales. I think Iran had to start working on a new roadmap after the sanctions are lifted.”
*** ‘Scale of work in Assaluyeh is huge’
During the visit, Marzieh Shahdaie, the director for projects at the National Petrochemical Company (NPC), briefed the visitors about the petrochemical area in the PSEEZ.
She highlighted that the scale of work in Assaluyeh’s petrochemical area is huge.
The official said: “There are two phases in the area. There is just one project under operation in phase one. It is urea/ammonium project in Pardis Petrochemical Complex.”
“Phase two has already three operating complexes and 22 more complexes are under construction. There are so many investment opportunities in this phase,” she added.
Explaining about some of the main petrochemical complexes in the area, Shahdaie referred to Jam Petrochemical Company as the largest olefin production plant in the world.
She also named Nouri Petrochemical Company as the largest aromatics producer in the world and also titled Zagros Petrochemical Company as a methanol production mega plant.
“Today, we want to show you the capabilities of Iranian industries, as, most of the equipments and infrastructures in phases one and two have been manufactured and constructed by Iranian manufacturers and contractors,” the NPC director noted.
Answering to the Tehran Times about the approaches of IPF, Shahdaie said: “We negotiated with many European and Asian companies participated in the forum. All of them showed high interest and willingness to take the advantage of making investment in Iran’s petrochemical sector after removal of the sanctions.”
*** ‘Iran exports 40 types of petrochemical products’
Pars Petrochemical Port was one of the sites visitors saw during the tour.
Terminals and Tanks Petrochemical Company (TTPC) of Iran is in charge of operating this port and also Imam Khomeini Port in the southeastern city of Mahshahr.
Gholamreza Manouchehri, a director in the TTPC, said Iran exports about 40 types of petrochemical products through Pars and Imam Khomeini ports.
He put the Pars Port’s loading capacity at 32-35 million tons per annum, while putting the port’s annual loading record high at 12-13 million tons so far.
He said Iran’s petrochemical products are mainly exported to the Middle East and the Far East via this port. Methanol and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) were the key exports, he added.
Manouchehri also expressed hope for finding new export markets for Iran’s petrochemical products after the sanctions are removed against the country.
On December 5, NPC Deputy Managing Director Mohammad-Hassan Peyvandi said Iran’s petrochemical export is projected to rise to 35 million tons in the current Iranian calendar year (which will end on March 20, 2016) from 32 million tons in the past calendar year.
Iran’s annual petrochemical output was 44 million tons in the previous year.
The country plans to raise its petrochemical production to around 129 million tons by 2021, which marks the end of Iran’s sixth five-year development plan. The country has also set a goal of increasing petrochemical output to 180 million tons by 2025.
Officials say the country has the capacity to produce 60 million tons of petrochemicals per annum.