In January 2016, the United Nations and the European Union abolished numerous sanctions against the Iran. All industries can profit thereof, especially the petrochemical industry due to the large oil and natural gas deposits of the Iran, said market research institute Ceresana.
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 tons.
Thereof, the production plants of ethylene accounted for more than 23%. 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 tons of the three most important types of polyethylene (PE) plastics, namely LDPE, LLDPE, and HDPE. Additional petrochemical plants are already under construction. Until 2023, at least 36 million tons of capacity are supposed to be added, according to Ceresana's report.
Although the Iran 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 tons of petrochemical products were exported. Ceresana expects this volume to almost double until 2023.
At present, Iranian producers export mainly methanol – in the past years, an amount of 3.4 million tons. 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 the Iran are revealed, especially to Europe and to other Asian countries. Therefore, the Iran is trying to complete numerous constructions of petrochemical plants with the support of foreign investors at present.