A total of 15 petrochemical plants are affiliated with the Persian Gulf Petrochemical Industries Company (PGPIC). The plants account for 40% of Iran’s petrochemical exports. Although PGPIC has been under US sanctions. it continues to export petrochemicals. Furthermore. petrochemical production plants are coming online one after another.
Chief among PGPIC plans has been to make planning for completing the value chain and exporting products of higher value-added. The directors of these plants are not worried about selling their products as they’ve already identified their target markets. They believe that sanctions have caused them to apply a variety of methods for their exports.
The managers of the Persian Gulf Apadana. Nouri. Mobin and Pars petrochemical plants. located in Assaluyeh. have told a group of reporters visiting the plants that Iran’s petrochemical industry has been sensitive toward its resilience in recent years.
The Persian Gulf Apadana plant would come online in 2021 with an annual output of 1.65 million tonnes of methanol. That is while the largest methanol production plant in the Middle East would come online in Bushehr soon.
Jalil Qasami. CEO of Persian Gulf Apadana. said: Our methanol export market is guaranteed and we are assured that the Chinese would be buying our methanol. Meantime. the CEO of Pars Petrochemical Co. referred to his company’s production and export in the past one year. saying: We will complete our value chain to enable to resist sanctions.
The tougher the sanctions on the petrochemical industry become. the more petrochemical plant managers diversify their methods for selling their products. They may not reveal the details of these methods due to sanctions. but data provided by petrochemical plants about their sales show the failure of the sanctions imposed on PGPIC. While diversifying the mix of petrochemical products. PGPIC has intended to set up units with higher value-added in order to increase its revenue.
Methanol Sales Guaranteed
Apadana Persian Gulf Petrochemical Plant is set to come online in late 2021. At the moment. it has had 47% progress. It has capacity to produce 1.65 million tonnes a year. The plant would receive 4.000 cubic meters a day of methane in feedstock. Although licensed by Switzerland’s Casale. the plant’s basic engineering had been done by Iranian companies. A total of € 462 million has been allocated for the plant.
Jalil Qasami. CEO of Apadana Persian Gulf Petrochemical Plant. said orders worth €250 million had been field. He put the rate of return on investment at 36.6%.
Qasami said Iran could produce 8.3 million tonnes of methanol. 300.000 of which would be consumed domestically and the rest would be exported.
We’re not worried about selling our products. he said.
Qasami touched on China’s methanol production. saying: This country produces 60 million tonnes of methanol and it imports another 10 million tonnes.
He added: Meantime. China produces 80% of its methanol from coal that causes heavy pollution. That is while Iran is producing methanol from gas and therefore China can import methanol from Iran.
Qasami said that the company’s methanol market was guaranteed. saying there was nothing to worry about selling products.
He added that PGPIC was planning to set up a methanol value chain in Iran in order to transform methanol to propylene and ethylene. in the downstream sector.
5 Catalysts at Nouri Plant
Nouri Petrochemical Plant floated 10% of its shares on the stock market. which was warmly welcomed by customers. Taqi Sanei. CEO of Nouri Petrochemical Plant. said the company’s profitability and share value were on the rise.
The company recently produced 2.9 million tonnes of products. 60% of which was exported. The rest had been sent to the Mercantile Exchange and petrochemical plants. The company is currently running at 91% of its capacity and is 101% ahead of its targets. The plant is receiving about 100.000 b d of feedstock.
The plant is operating the heavy-end sweetening project that would allow for the production of Euro-5 and Euro-6 gasoil. The project would allow for gasoil with a sulfur content of 1.400 ppm to be converted to 10 ppm.
Sanei said the project had been put out to tender. the result of which would be known in two months.
Another project under way by Nouri plant is known as zero-flaring. The reason for which the plant is operating this project is that the sour gas produced throughout gasoil sweetening may not be injected into the fuel system and is then flared. But now the sour gas may be gathered and sweetened and then LPG is separated and sulfur is converted into ammonia sulphate.
Normally. petrochemical plants separate only sulfur during the sweetening phase. For the first time. the ammonia sulphate fertilizer is being produced from sour flare gas. Sanei said this project was aimed at reducing natural gas consumption and increasing LPG production.
Commisioning of this project would increase paraxylene production by 20% and benzene production by 10%.
Sanei said the plant suffered too much from sanctions due to catalyst supply.
That is why in cooperation with knowledge-based companies. we produced five catalysts domestically. Now we have no problems with catalyst. chemicals and equipment supply. he added.
Noting that 3.000 items had been manufactured at Nouri petrochemical plant. Sanei said domestic manufacturers had a big share in implementing the projects.
The company has linked this plant to all South Pars refineries in order for feedstock supply and it has currently no problem with feedstock supply. he said.
69% Margins at Mobin Petchem Plant
Mobin Petrochemical Company is one of the largest centralized utilities in the world. It provides utilities and treats industrial waste released from petrochemical plants in Assaluyeh. This plant was in fact aimed at saving on investment and production costs and reducing energy cost price in the area.
Ali-Reza Shamim. CEO of Mobin Company. said $2 billion had been invested in the utilities. adding that petrochemical companies would have a high margin when they provide centralized utilities.
The margins of Mobin company had been 51-52% since 2015. while at the moment it has now reached 65%.
Shamim said after the completion of a project. in which Mobin has a share. in 2021. the company would see its annual profits rise IRR 15.000 billion. The company’s profits currently stand at IRR 28.000 billion.
He also touched on Mobin petrochemical projects aimed at sustained production. saying that the water desalination plant of this company had been pre-commissioned. He said a 350-tonne boiler was also becoming operational.
He said that the industrial waste released by all companies in the region would be led to the waste treatment section of this company.
Pars Petchem Value Chain
Pars Petrochemical Company is a leading producer of C2+ in the Middle East and styrene monomer in the world. Despite US sanctions. it has managed to increase its production and exports 21.5% year-on-year.
Masoud Hassani. CEO of Pars Petchem. said the sanctions caused restrictions. but we countered them and managed to increase our production and exports.
Among resilient-oriented measures undertaken by the company were enhancing propane and butane exports in coordination with adjacent plants. In cooperation with the South Pars Gas Complex. the Pars Petchem Company stored products in order to be fed into national gas trunkline.
Pars Petchem Company also showed more flexibility to domestic customers and increased its production in the ethylene benzene and styrene monomer units in order to fully meet current and future needs and bring calm to the domestic market.
The policy pursued by Pars Petrochemical is to supply new products so that the bulk of feedstock would be supplied by the company. he said. adding that the company would complete the chain of its products in the styrene monomer and propane.
According to Hassani. the company plans to use styrene monomer to produce other products than polystyrene in order to increase value-added.
That would let the company record IRR 100.000 billion in annual profits. up from the current IRR 60.000 billion.
He said that Pars Company was seeking to complete the value chain of its products. adding: In propane. we will be moving towards the polyethylene chain and in styrene we want to supply products that are imported.
Hassani said the styrene monomer and ethylene benzene production capacity of the Pars plant had increased 7% and 20%. respectively.
He added that a 25% hike in the styrene monomer output was envisaged within a year.