Iran, Shell begin rivalry in petchem market

News ID: 3885289 -
TEHRAN, Jan. 23 (MNA) – An official, while pointing to Iran’s self-sufficiency in production of two new petrochemicals, said fresh round of rivalry had grown among Iranian, British, German and Japanese firms over exports of the two strategic products.

Addressing a press conference on Monday morning, Managing Director of Karoon Petrochemical Co. Alireza Sedighizadeh said the second phase of the complex had come on stream in recent weeks aiming to produce 40 thousand tons of diphenylmethane diisocyanate (MDI) per year.

The official emphasized that the phase two expansion marked the largest nitrobenzene unit in the Middle East asserting that MDI had numerous uses in complementary industries, especially petrochemical factories which produce all kinds of cloth, furniture, auto parts and thermal insulations.

He reiterated that Iran was the first and largest manufacturer of MDI in the Middle East and West Asia estimating that mass production of the new product will begin in Iran as of next Iranian calendar year (to begin March 21).

“Located at Bandar Imam in the Petrochemical Special Economic Zone, the first phase of Karoon complex involved a facility designed to produce 40,000 t/y of toluene diisocyanate (TDI) that was inaugurated in 2008.”

Sedighizadeh underscored that majority of large European countries like Italy, German, Russia, Greece, Albania are customers of the new Iranian petchem product; “additionally, the product will be deployed to Persian Gulf littoral states, Turkey, the US, Pakistan, Azerbaijan Republic, Nigeria, Kenya and Iraq.”

He said the two expansion phases of Karoon Petrochemical Co. required about 350 million euros adding “given that the second phase of Karoon complex has become operational in the past few weeks, production of the project’s intermediate output called aniline has begun with an annual capacity of 30 thousand tons.”

Referring to exports of several aniline cargos to India, the official estimated that upon complete supply of feedstock to the two phases, in addition to meeting domestic demands, the new petrochemical products will be also shipped to Asian and European countries.

In response to a question on status of partnership between Karoon complex and Sweden's Comator, Sedighizadeh said “the Swedish firm previously held 30% of Karoon’s share though all the shared were sold to domestic companies four years ago.”

The official stressed that Comator hold no stocks of the Iranian petrochemical company asserting that “cooperation with the Swedish side, as the license holder, will continue as Comator will provide Karoon with certain catalysts and spare parts.”

He went on to deem Britain’s Royal Dutch Shell, BASF of Germany and Japan’s lptui as major rivals of Iran in export markets of MDI and TDI saying “in view of high quality of Iranian petrochemical products, enough room exists for competition with international companies in global markets.”

Sedighizadeh underscored that imports of the two petchem products had ended since Iran had become self-sufficient in the field concluding “given that domestic demands are fully supplied, the path will be paved for development of complementary industries inside the country.”

HA/3885073

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