News Code : 43437

Petrochemicals have become Iran's biggest driver of foreign currency income from exports since US sanctions choked the OPEC member's crude sales, oil minister Bijan Zanganeh told an exhibition in Tehran Sunday.

Petrotahlil :"The petrochemical industry stands in the front line of the economic war front," Zanganeh said at the opening of the petrochemicals products fair in Tehran. "Compared to other sectors, this industry plays the biggest role in bringing back the foreign currency income from exports of products."

Iran plans to almost double investment in the domestic petrochemicals industry as a way to make up for losses in oil hit by sanctions, Behzad Mohammadi, deputy oil minister of petrochemical affairs and managing director of the National Petrochemical Co., said at the fair.

Investment in petrochemicals will increase to $93 billion by 2025 from $53 billion today, Mohammadi said.

Iran's oil production and hence exports have dived since the US stopped issuing waivers to eight buyers of the Iranian oil in May. Iran's oil output in August stood at 2.3 million b/d, according to a Platts OPEC Survey in early September. That's down from 3.8 million b/d in June 2017.

Iran has been boosting exports of petrochemicals, directly or through its commodity exchange, to compensate for sliding oil sales due to US sanctions. While the sanctions imposed in November do apply to petrochemicals, Iran has been finding it easier to export some petrochemicals while attention has been on oil.

The value of Iran's petrochemicals products should rise to more than $25 billion with production capacity of more than 100 million mt by 2022, compared with a value of $16 billion currently, Zanganeh said. Ethane production could reach 16 million mt/year in 2021, he said, adding that the production stood at 7.3 million mt in 2018.

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