Iran assigns $ 6 bn in investment for petrochemical industry

Jun 24, 2004 02:00 AM

Minister of Oil Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said the country has assigned $ 6 bn of investment for the petrochemical industry in the past six years.
Zanganeh who was in the southern city of Mahshahr as President Mohammad Khatami launched five petrochemical projects said Iran will put on-stream all petrochemical projects up to March 2005. The minister said Bandar Imam Special Economic Petrochemical Zone has become the biggest petrochemical pole in the country.

Zanganeh said the five projects had cost $ 1.4 bn, adding that their output will yield $ 400 mm per annum. The minister said that other projects are to come online in Assaluyeh Port.
"The second petrochemical pole is taking shape in Assaluyeh thanks to South Pars Gas Field." He said that the country earned around $ 2.7 bn from petrochemical exports in the last Iranian calendar year ending March 2004.
"We are supposed to produce 19 mm tons of petrochemical products by March 2005. In the current calendar year we are supposed to export $1.9 bn worth of products."

Zanganeh predicted that the country's petrochemical exports will reach $ 20 bn in ten years.
In other development, Oil Industry University professor Mousa Ghaninejad said that although some specialists have called the 10-year outlook for the petrochemical sector ambitious, it was quite realistic. The professor pointed out that foreign investors’ enthusiasm of for Iranian petrochemical projects and the granting of loans to the National Petrochemical Company without state guarantees indicates that the industry enjoys a good situation and will experience growth in the next decade. He noted however, "Despite massive investment in petrochemical industries, participation of the private sector in this sector is still not satisfactory."

Ghaninejad said using private contractors was not enough to encourage the participation of the private sector, but legal changes in investment and ownership rights and eliminating obstacles to private sector investments were essential.
Iran enjoys abundant gas resources and the best way to take advantage of those resources is to consume them as petrochemical feed for the production of products with high added value. He said since Qatar was already developing the South Pars gas field, any delay in investing in domestic petrochemical industry would be harmful to the country.

Source: Tehran Times
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