Gas feedstock is petchem priority of Iranian industry

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Deputy Minister of Petroleum and Managing Director of National Petrochemical Company (NPC) Marzieh Shahdaie says Iran's priority in petrochemical industry is use of gas as feedstock, reported Shana.

Shahdaie made the remarks on the sidelines of a ceremony where NPC and Japan's Sojitz signed a memorandum of understating for studies on construction of a methanol to propylene plant (MTP) in Iran.

Shahadie said, "One of the priorities of our petrochemical industry is using natural gas as feedstock. Alongside, the MTP project will be commissioned in cooperation with a Japanese company."

She said the NPC is to implement the MTP project using foreign investment. "Of course, the NPC Research and Technology Company has attained such a knowledge."

She said following improvement of Iran's relations with the international companies, Sojitz announced its readiness for investment in the MTP and GTPP projects and the MoU signed by the two parties will soon be implemented."

"Since there are abundant gas sources in Iran, implementation of the MTP project is big in its kind as it and its commissioning are one of the main policies of the Ministry of Petroleum."

If the project is economically and technically justified for foreign investor, including Sojitz, and addresses its needs, it will be implemented in Assalouyeh, she added.

Shahdaie said the NPC is in talks with German companies as well. "Many German companies seek cooperation with and investment in the Iranian petrochemical industry, hoping that once banking problems and barriers of the two sides are eliminated, the German companies' investment will increase."

We also remind that, as MRC informed previously, Royal Dutch Shell has signed a preliminary memorandum of understanding (MOU) with NPC for cooperation in the petrochemical industry. Hans Nijkamp, the head of the department for Iran affairs at Royal Dutch Shell, said the signing of the MOU came after months of negotiations between the two companies.

First phase of Iran Polystyrene Park to open in 2 months

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Iran will inaugurate the first phase of its first polystyrene (PS) park in Assalouyeh, south of the country, within the next couple of months, as per Shana.

Ali Mohammad Bossaqzadeh, director of production control at National Petrochemical Company (NPC), told Shana that the park comprises 6 units of which two are Entekhab Arman and Takht Jamshid Units which are nearly complete.

He said the other units of the park will be complete within the next two years.

Bossaqzadeh said NPC aims at completing the value-chain in the petrochemical sector, adding completion of the value-chain minimizes production costs and can render variety to production of petrochemical items in the country.

He further said other units of the park including Sadaf Plant with 40% completion, Jam Petrochemical Plant with 30 to 35% progress and Dalahou with 60% progress.

Polystyrene is one of the most widely used plastics, the scale of its production being several billion kilograms per year. It can be naturally transparent, but can be colored with colorants. Uses include protective packaging (such as packing peanuts and CD and DVD cases), containers (such as "clamshells"), lids, bottles, trays, tumblers, and disposable cutlery.

As MRC wrote before, as of 2015, number of active Iranian Petrochemical complexes were 53, with total production capacity of 59 million metric ton, producing range of polymers, chemicals, aromatics & liquid gas, located mainly at Iranian south region, next to Persian Gulf, called Assaluyeh and Mahshahr Special Economic Zones.

At the moment, there are 67 developments projects in the country which are under construction, adding 61 million metric ton on total production and estimated to fully run till 2018.

NPC Inks MoU with Japanese Firm in Petchem Cooperation

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Iran's National Petrochemical Company (NPC) has signed a memorandum of understating with Japan's Sojitz for carrying out studies over construction of a methanol to propylene plant in Iran, reported Shana.

Held at the locality of the NPC in Tehran, the signing ceremony of the MoU was attended by Managing Director of the NPC Marziyeh Shahdaei and Masaru Sato, Sojitz's senior representative on Saturday.

Speaking during the ceremony, Marziyeh Shahdaei, who is also deputy petroleum minister in petrochemical affairs, said the project is of crucial importance for Iran given the vast gas reserves it is sitting atop.

Sojitz has been active in Iran over 50 years and is the first foreign company active in Iran's petrochemical sector, said Sato during the meeting.

Sojitz Corporation is a general trading company based in Tokyo, Japan.

It is engaged in a wide range of businesses globally, including buying, selling, importing, and exporting goods, manufacturing and selling products, providing services, and planning and coordinating projects, in Japan and overseas.

Sojitz also invests in various sectors and conducts financing activities. The broad range of sectors in which Sojitz operates includes automobiles, energy, mineral resources, chemicals, foodstuff resources, agricultural and forestry resources, consumer goods, and industrial parks.

As MRC reported earlier, in July 2016, a fresh round of talks between NPC and Linde AG of Germany began over investment and participation in Iran’s most strategic petrochemical complex. Six month after the implementation of Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), no official agreement was signed with a foreign firm for development, investment attraction of reopening of credit and finance lines in the country’s petchem industries. Despite the inking of a contract with France’s Total for construction of a petrochemical plant in southern Iran, as well as numerous talks with Japan’s Mitsubishi and BASF of Germany to fund ongoing projects in Iran, neither negotiations nor MoUs have led to sealing of new contracts in the country’s petrochemical industry then.

Meanwhile, Iran’s petrochemical production capacity has reached about 62 million tons per year though National Petrochemical Company (NPC) officials have estimated that the figure will hit 100 million tons upon implementation of the Sixth National Development Plan.

BP to set up fuel stations in India, challenge state refiners

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Global oil major BP plans to open up to 3,500 fuel stations in India, becoming the second overseas firm drawn to rising demand for gasoil and gasoline in the world's fastest growing major economy, reported Reuters.

BP will join European oil major RoyalDutch Shell as the only foreign firms selling fuel in the country, challenging the market share of state refiners that control 93% of India's more than 56,000 outlets.

An oil ministry official told Reuters BP would be issued permission to set up the stations by Monday. A BP India spokeswoman confirmed the company had applied for a license to set up the fuel stations.

India is replacing China as the driver of global oil demand growth as its economy expands and a rising middle class buys motor vehicles. The International Energy Agency expects India to account for a quarter of global energy use by 2040.

"There is space for everybody as our fuel demand is growing," said M.K. Surana, chairman of state-owned Hindustan Petroleum Corp, adding that the entry of new players will make the retail market more competitive.

"State refiners will have to adopt novel ways to boost sales and retain their market share," added Surana, whose firm signed a deal this week to sell milk products at its retail outlets to attract customers.

India ended control over gasoline prices in 2010 and on diesel in 2014, making retail fuel attractive for private players like Essar Oil and Reliance Industries which are expanding their retail presence.

India recently allowed private firm Haldia Petrochemicals Ltd to see up fuel stations.

BP pulled out of a refinery and marketing joint venture with HPCL in 2006, when retail prices were way below market rates and federal financial support was given only to state firms.

"It is highly unlikely that India will revert to the subsidies regime, more so because of low oil prices. This strengthens the confidence of new players to enter the Indian fuel market," said Tushar Tarun Bansal, director at Singapore based consultancy Ivy Global.

Oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan said in June that global oil majors including Saudi Aramco and Total planned to tap the retail fuel market in India.

Indian fuel markets could be a lucrative prize for BP, which reported a 45% drop in Q2 earnings. It has also received an Indian license for jet fuel sales.

It is not clear where BP will source fuels for local sales. India's pricing formula gives higher profits to retailers with refining plants or domestic supply sources.

"BP already has a tie up with Reliance on the gas side so there is a possibility they may strengthen this relationship further to the downstream side of the business," said Bansal.

BP in 2011 acquired a 30% stake from Reliance in some exploration blocks and formed a gas sourcing and marketing tie-up with the Indian conglomerate. Reliance operates the world's biggest refining complex in western India, but controls only a small share of retail fuel markets.

"Any refining or product sale tie-up with BP will suit Reliance which recently decided to exit from the African market, leaving it to explore new geographies and clients for its fuel," Bansal said.

As MRC informed previously, British oil major BP is seeking buyers for its 50% stake in Chinese petrochemicals joint venture SECCO, its largest investment in China, in a deal sources said could fetch USD2-USD3 B.

BP is a leading producer of oil and gas and produces enough energy annually to light nearly the entire country for a year. Employing about 17,000 people across the country, BP supports more than 170,000 additional jobs through all of its business activities.

Major fire reported at HPL complex

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Haldia Petrochemicals Ltd (HPL) reported a massive fire at the petrochemical complex located in the eastern Indian state of West Bengal, reported Apic-online.

A Polymerupdate source in India informed that a fire broke out on Sunday morning at around 11:30 AM at the complex. 12 fire tenders including the company's own tenders rushed to the spot to douse the flames. The fire officials informed after preliminary investigations that the cause could have been a broken gas pipe as a result of which gas spread and a fire broke out.

As per reports received earlier today, the situation at the complex was brought under control on Sunday itself. Officials contacted at Haldia said that all plants at the complex were running normally as of this morning.

Located at Haldia in the eastern Indian state of west Bengal, the complex can produce 700,000 mt/year of ethylene and 350,000 mt/year of propylene and provides feedstock to a 330,000 mt/year high density PE plant, a 370,000 mt/year HDPE/linear low PE swing plant and a 350,000 mt/year polypropylene unit.

As MRC reported earlier, in July 2014, the manufacturing plant of Haldia Petrochemicals Ltd was shut down after the naphtha cracker unit developed a technical snag. "The charge gas compressor of the naphtha cracker plant developed a snag and so the entire complex was shut down to attend to the problem," HPL managing director U K Bose said then. Bose also added the shutdown caused severe losses to the company.

Haldia Petrochemicals Ltd is a modern naphtha based petrochemical complex at Haldia, West Bengal, India. Haldia has played the role of a catalyst in emergence of more than 500 downstream processing industries in West Bengal with a capacity to process more than 3,50,000 TPA of polymers, among which are polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP).