By Dalga Khatinoglu
Iran says it is planning to increase petrochemical exports by 2016.
After a huge plunge in Iran's both petrochemical production and export in 2012, the country re-boost the figures, but yet so far from the ideal level.
Before sanctions were imposed in mid-2012, Iran was exporting about 21.226 million tons (MT) of petrochemical products worth $15 billion. But the figure decreased to 14.492 MT in a fiscal year corresponding to 2012 and this level had been kept unchanged until last year, when the figure increased by 18.8 million tons.
During the first four months of the current fiscal year, started on March 21, Iran exported 8.171 MT, remained unchanged year-to-year, while the production volume stood at 15.66 MT.
Iran also increased a petrochemical production level by 4 MT to 44 MT last year and planned to increase the figure to 51 MT in the current fiscal year.
However, the nominal capacity of petrochemical production in Iran is around 60 MT.
Now, Mehdi Sharifi Niknafs, managing director of the Iran Petrochemical Commercial Company told IRNA Aug.15 that Iran will boost petrochemical exports by 20 to 25 percent in 1 to 1.5 years by lifting the sanctions.
The Islamic Republic of Iran and the group 5+1 (the US, UK, France, Russia, China, and Germany) reached a long-awaited comprehensive deal called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on July 14.
The sanctions are expected to be lifted by the end of 2015.
"The elimination of sanctions would bring an opportunity to remove the middlemen, as well as to facilitate the banking, insurance and export might," he said.
The Iranian official said that under sanctions, we have had to pay more costs for exporting our products.
"Some petrochemical units in Iran work with 60 to 70 percent of capacity, we also have the projects to be developed by foreign investments to boost our production level immediately in units which are currently developed by 80 percent," he said.
Iran needs $70 billion for petrochemical projects by 2025.
The Islamic Republic of Iran also planned to attract $70 billion investment in the next 10 years to increase petrochemical output to 180 million tons per annum.
Iran has also faced with ethane shortage during last year to provide the petrochemical units. Last year, Iran was able to provide the units with only 2.8 MT of ethane, but regarding a huge boost in Iran's gas production 1.5 years ago, this figure is expected to reach 4.2 MT by March 2016.
Iran increased the gas production capacity by 100 million cubic meters per day (mcm/d) until March 2014 and planned to add more 100 mcm/d during the current fiscal year.
Dalga Khatinoglu is an expert on Iran's energy sector, head of Trend Agency's Iran news service
Follow him on @dalgakhatinoglu