Daily Management Review

Investments to the Tune of $60 Billion in Petrochemicals being sought by Iran from Total to Mitsui


Investments to the Tune of $60 Billion in Petrochemicals being sought by Iran from Total to Mitsui
With the aim of doubling the country’s capacity to produce petrochemicals over the next decade and as a part of its push to attract $60 billion in foreign investment, Iran has started talks with Mitsui & Co. Ltd. and Total SA.
Managing Director Marzieh Shahdaei said in an interview at her office in Tehran that the state-run National Petrochemical Co. plans to increase output capacity to 150 million metric tons a year by 2026. Shahdaei, who also serves as deputy oil minister said that completing 55 unfinished projects and 28 new production facilities would have to be done.
The current output of Saudi Basic Industries Corp. which is also known as Sabic and the world’s second-biggest petrochemical maker by sales would be more than doubled if the plans succeed.
In a drive to rebuild its economy after the easing of international sanctions in January, Iran is seeking to upgrade and expand its energy industry, including petrochemicals. Since then the production of natural gas has been ramped up and crude output has been boosted to near pre-sanctions levels by the Persian Gulf nation. The world’s largest reserves of gas, a raw material for petrochemicals is present in Iran.
“A number of these projects have had problems that go back to sanctions and financing,” Shahdaei said. Some U.S. sanctions remain in place, prohibiting transactions in dollars and keeping large international banks at bay, although most of the restrictions on Iran were lifted under last year’s nuclear accord.
Potential investing companies like BASF SE, the world’s largest chemical company by sales, were presented 60 projects by the government in December at an event in Tehran.
Shahdaei said that at the end of the last Iranian year on March 20, the production of Iran stood at 46 million tons and since that time the production capacity has increased to about 60 million tons a year, up about a third of the previous capacity. According to the Saudi company Sabic’s website, 69.7 million tons annually as of the end of 2014 were produced by the company – just a little more than Iran’s current production.
Shahdaei said that riding mostly on exports of pharmaceutical products to China and Europe, Iran generated $14 billion in the last Iranian year of which $9.4 billion was generated from exports.
She said that the petrochemicals business could be facilitated by a $10 billion credit line from Japan to Iran that was announced last month. While declining to identify any of the companies that Iran was in talks with because they haven’t signed memorandums of understanding with Iran, Shahdaei said NPC is in talks with several German, Italian and Spanish companies are going on in addition to Mitsui and Total SA.
“Companies that ignored us for years are now getting up and coming here. It’s similar to starting a race. They are positioning themselves in the starting blocks so that as soon as the barriers are removed, they can get working,” she said.

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