Iran is counting down to overtake its arch-rival Saudi Arabia when it comes to the production and sale of petrochemical products.
Saudi Arabia’s sweeping efforts to disrupt Iran’s development in the oil and gas, refining and petrochemical industries come as new phases of the South Pars Oil and Gas Field have become operational, enabling Iran to produce an amount of natural gas from the shared field equal to the amount extracted by the other side. Now it is Riyadh’s turn to savour the bitter taste of defeat in the petrochemical market.
According to the Persian-language Fars News Agency, Phase Three of a project to develop the Pardis Petrochemical Facility came on line last year, raising Iran’s capacity of producing petrochemical and polymer products to 64 million tonnes. At the same time, the amount of the country’s petrochemical products reached a 50-year high in the history of Iran’s petrochemical industry. The figure touched 53 million tonnes last year, up around three million tonnes year on year.
The National Petrochemical Industries Company is planning to produce around 63 million tonnes of petrochemical and polymer products this year as feedstock for industrial complexes. The products can be offered both on local and foreign markets. If the target is met, that would mean a new record and a rise of around 10 million tonnes over last year.
This is while the Saudi Arabia’s petrochemical output capacity is estimated at around 75 million tonnes at the moment. With the inauguration of at least five major projects as well as two in-house projects aimed at expanding petrochemical complexes this year, Iran’s petrochemical production capacity will cross the 75-million-tonne mark to overtake Saudi Arabia on the region’s petrochemical market.
Currently underway are the final phases of the completion of five major petrochemical projects, namely the Kavel Methonol facility regarded as the world’s largest methanol production project, the Marjan Methonol facility, Lordegan Petrochemical facility, phase two of the Ilam petrochemical development project, the Nafta desalination plant as part of Avicenna Petrochemical project, and an optic petrochemical project.
At least eight projects are also planned to come on line in the country’s petrochemical industry sector that will see the country’s urea production register a 2.5-fold rise and reach 15 million tonnes, making Iran the largest producer of urea among the world’s petrochemical industries.
Iran has also overtaken countries such as the United States and China in methanol production, becoming the largest producer of the product in the world. Iran’s methanol production capacity is predicted to rise by 30 million tonnes a year between 2018 and 2022.