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Petrochemical Industry

Petrochemical Industry has Projects Worth 162 Billion in the Pipeline: Iran, China and US to Become Petro-Hotspots

| Editor: Dominik Stephan

(Picture: terry ross / CC BY 2.0)

The worldwide petrochemical industry will experience significant growths within the next five years, recent figures indicate – Yet, this growth is not equally distributed: While markets in China, the US or Iran are thriving…

These major investments will see global petrochemical production capacity to reach 1,708 million tons per year in 2020 (from 1,464 million tons in 2015). Large capacity additions with more than 640 planned projects are expected to come online primarily in China, US and Iran within the next five years.

Also the top players in this field stem from Asia: China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation, Petronas (Malaysia) and Shenhua are the top three companies by capacity additions expected to come on-stream by 2019. In total, the industry is expected to invest around US $162.3 billion by 2020 in new plants and capacity expansions, mostly in the US, China and Russia.

Iran has Considerable Increased its Production Capacity

Also Iran has considerable need for investments after the end of numerous international sanctions against the country: The petrochemical industry in Iran was extended considerably in the past years. In 2015, total capacity of methanol, ethylene, propylene, butadiene / butylene, aromates and the respective derivates amounted to 31 million tonnes. Thereof, the production plants of ethylene accounted for more than 23%.

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Ethylene derivates, such as ethylene dichloride (EDC) and ethylene glycol, accounted for almost 17% of capacity. Iranian factories are also able to produce, for example, 4.8 million tonnes of the three most important types of polyethylene plastics, namely LDPE, LLDPE, and HDPE. Additional petrochemical plants are already under construction. Until 2023, at least 36 million tonnes of capacity are supposed to be added.

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Although the oil rich country is one of the largest domestic markets for petrochemical products in the Middle East, the focus of many Iranian companies is on export. In 2015, around 6.8 million tonnes of petrochemical products were exported. Ceresana expects this volume to almost double until 2023.

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At present, Iranian producers export mainly methanol - in the past years, an amount of 3.4 million tonnes. The second most important export product was polyethylene HDPE.

The major part has been delivered to China so far. Analysts of Ceresana do not expect demand for imports in China to remain at the present level. However, new possibilities for exports for Iran are revealed, especially to Europe and to other Asian countries. Therefore, Iran is trying to complete numerous constructions of petrochemical plants with the support of foreign investors at present.

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