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Iran - Iranian Exports Of Petrochemicals.

There have been no detailed reports about Iran's exports of petrochemicals in the past four fiscal years. NPC has said that, in fiscal 2006/07, it had exported 5.9m tons of petrochemicals worth $3.2bn, up more than eight times over the previous 15 years, and 21% of Iran's total non-oil exports in value terms during that year.

NPC said that condensates, propane and butane had the lion's share of the value of petrochemical exports in fiscal 2006/07. They were followed by polyethylene, methanol, benzene, and tar. It said the average price of petrochemical exports in that fiscal year represented 26.5% of total non-oil exports.

Then representing 1.3% of Iran's GDP, NPC said in fiscal 2006/07, it had produced 18m tons of basic, intermediate, and finished chemicals. That had been more than a three-fold rise in NPC's output over the previous 15 years.

In fiscal 2006/07, a number of petrochemical projects gone on stream included an ethane cracker at the Pars Complex, Olefin-7 at the Marun Plant, Methanol-4 at the Zagros Plant, utilities at the Mobin Complex and a carbon monoxide unit at Fanavaran. Ground had been broken for construction of four more petrochemical complexes.

Local consumption of petrochemicals had reached 6.5m t/y by March 20, 2007. NPC said in fiscal 2006/07, Iran had devoted $22bn for projects to be ready by 2010. In May 2006, NPC's then CEO Asghar Ebrahimi-Asl said: "Some $150bn will be invested in oil, gas and petrochemicals over the coming 10 years The ninth government [under President Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad] intends to give the job [of implementing NPC's projects] to domestic forces and support domestic capacities For every billion dollars of [Iran's] imports, 50,000 direct and indirect jobs are lost in the country".

Yet Ebrahimi-Asl, a radical with no experience in this sector appointed in early 2006, was in October of that year replaced by Gholam-Hossein Nejabat who until then used to head NPC's project tendering arm, Petrochemical Industries Development Management Co. (Pidmco). But like Ebrahimi-Asl, Nejabat is a nationalist favouring Iranian firms over foreign companies in the implementation of NPC's projects. Eventually he was fired and replaced by Bayat (see the background in down16IranPetchmApr20-09)

It was partly on the advice of Nejabat that NPC in mid-April 2006 cancelled the Olefins-11 EPC contract with a consortium led by Linde of Germany. The move caused serious damage to NPC's reputation among foreign contractors (see details in down17IranWhoApr27-09).
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Publication:APS Review Downstream Trends
Geographic Code:7IRAN
Date:Apr 18, 2011
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