The calendar year 1395 which ended on March 20 was exceptional for Iran's petrochemical industry. During that year, many petrochemical projects came on-stream. Some of them were Lorestan linear polyethylene with a capacity of 330,000 tons, Urmia sulfuric acid with a capacity of 50,000 tons, Mahabad linear polyethylene with a capacity of 330,000 tons, Shohadaye Marvdasht urea and ammoniac with a capacity of 1.8 million tons, Takht-e Jamshid polystyrene in Mahshahr Port with a capacity of 80,000 tons and Phase 2 of Karoun Petrochemical Plant. Four more projects in Assaluyeh – Phase 2 of Kavian Petchem Plant, Morvarid MEG Petchem Plant, Entekhab Petchem Plant and Takht-e Jamshid Petchem Plant – are ready to come online in order to enhance the production capacity of Iranian petrochemical plants and help Iranian Ministry of Petroleum get closer to its target of boosting petrochemical exports.
Kavian Supplies 770,000 Tons to WEP
Kavian Petrochemical Plant (Olefin XI), which has been exactly modeled on Arya Sasol petrochemical plant, is among the largest producers of ethylene in Iran. The ethylene produced by this plant is injected into West Ethylene Pipeline (WEP) for delivery to Lorestan, Kermanshah, Ilam, Andimeshk, Kordestan, Mahabad and Miandoab petrochemical plants. Currently, Arvand, Amir Kabir, Maroun and Ghadir are using ethylene supplied by Kavian Petrochemical Plant. Phase 1 of this plant came online in 2012 and Phase 2 is ready to become operational.
Ramezan Owladi, CEO of Kavian Petrochemical Plant, said Phase 2 of this plant was ready for operation, adding: "This plant has been built to supply feedstock to petrochemical plants which lie on the WEP route."
Each phase of Kavian Petrochemical Plant would need 128,000 tons of ethane a year to produce ethylene. It would receive this amount of ethane from Phases 4&5, 9&10, 15&16, 17 and 18.
Noting that implementation of Kavian started in 2006, Owladi added: "Phase 1 of this plant was inaugurated in 2012 and Phase 2, which reached production 6 months ago, will come online soon."
"All stages of construction of this plant, ranging from engineering, logistics and installation to startup have been handled by domestic technicians," he said.
Owladi said Kavian Petrochemical Plant was running at 60% of its nominal capacity, adding: "Both phases of Kavian Petrochemical Plant have a similar annual production capacity of one million tons of ethylene."
He referred to the 817,000-ton production of this plant from February 2016 to December 2016, adding: "Of this amount, 770,000 tons has been injected into WEP."
Petchems Exported to China, India
The mono-ethylene glycol (MEG) unit of Morvarid Petrochemical Plant whose output stands at more than 550,000 tons a year is also ready to become operational. This unit is becoming operational without any involvement of foreign experts.
The MEG unit is fed by 340,000 tons of ethylene and 368,000 tons of oxygen a year. Its products would be 500,000 tons a year of MEG, 50,000 tons a year of di-ethylene glycol (DEG) and 3,400 tons a year of tri-ethylene glycol (TEG). These materials are mainly used in artificial tissues, polyester, anti-freeze and solvents.
Hamid-Reza Eftekhar, manager of Morvarid Petrochemical Plant, put the capital needed for the MEG project at more than IRR 12,500 billion, saying: "For the implementation of this project, €172 million plus IRR 5,000 billion have been spent."
Noting that the MEG unit was ready to come on-stream, he said: "So far 430,000 tons of MEG has been exported from Morvarid Petrochemical Plant to China and India, earning nearly $300 million. Furthermore, 20,000 tons of products of this unit have been consumed domestically."
"This unit is among few that have been running at 90% of capacity since coming online. It has produced 450,000 tons of MEG during this time," said Eftekhar. He said that the project has been launched on 5.4 ha of land, adding that 7,500 man-hour of accident-free work has been done.
He said Morvarid's MEG unit was the fourth and also the largest one built in Iran.
He said that an outstanding feature of the project was that 90% of its fixed equipment had been manufactured in Iran. "The license of this project belongs to Royal Dutch Shell and its basic engineering has been done by Japan's Mitsui," he added.
Eftekhar said: "The global consumption of this product is forecast to grow 6 to 7 percent. Increasing the capacity of this unit augurs well."
Entekhab to Meet 70% of Iran Polystyrene Needs
The polystyrene unit of Entekhab Petrochemical Plant located in Assaluyeh is ready to become operational with a production capacity of 250,000 tons a year. This unit started production in October 2016 and is now running at 40% of its nominal capacity. It is forecast to reach 100% of its rated capacity by June. Polystyrene is mainly used in insulators used in electronics, packaging, disposable food containers and toys.
Mehran Tarbiat, CEO of Entekhab, said: "Before implementation of expansion, polystyrene was produced at Entekhab Petrochemical Plant, other domestic producers used to produce 30,000 to 40,000 tons of polystyrene a year, while 60,000 to 70,000 tons was being imported."
Referring to the Iranian domestic market's need for 100,000 tons of polystyrene, he added: "Entekhab Petrochemical Plant has set targets for next year in order to supply the market with 70,000 tons and export the remaining production up to 250,000 tons a year."
Tarbiat said the total investment made in this project stood at IRR 7,200 billion, adding that the project was currently valued at IRR 12,000 billion.
He said that a knowledge-based Norwegian-German company is the licenser of the petrochemical plant. The company is currently studying license for different EPS grades.
Tarbiat said trial production of polystyrene started at this plant last October, adding: "Currently this plant is running at 40% of its capacity. Its products have been exported to countries like China, Russia, Kosovo, Albania, United Arab Emirates, Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan."
More Destinations for Takht-e Jamshid Pars
Construction of Takht-e Jamshid Pars Petrochemical Plant started in early 2015 in order to produce polystyrene at different grades. It was launched six months ago and is now ready to come on-stream.
Mohammad-Reza Akhavan, CEO of Takht-e Jamshid Pars, said the plant's products had the best quality and had been exported to Turkey, China, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Azerbaijan, Greece and India.
"Currently, more than 50% of the nominal capacity of Takht-e Jamshid Pars Petrochemical Plant is in operation and it will reach 100% output capacity next year," he said.
He added that 64% of the plant's output had been sold domestically, while the remaining 36% had been exported.
Akhavan put at $60 million the total investment made in the project, noting that it would produce 65,000 tons a year of polystyrene.
"Throughout the construction and launch of the polystyrene unit of this plant, domestic capacity and manufacturing have had the biggest share," he said.
Polystyrene is a synthetic aromatic polymer made from the monomer styrene. Polystyrene can be either solid or foamed. General-purpose polystyrene is clear, hard, and rather brittle. It is an inexpensive resin per unit weight. It is a rather poor barrier to oxygen and water vapor and has a relatively low melting point. Polystyrene is one of the most widely used plastics, the scale of its production being several million tons per year.
Polystyrene 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 a thermoplastic polymer, polystyrene is in a solid (glassy) state at room temperature but flows if heated above about 100 °C, its glass transition temperature. It becomes rigid again when cooled. This temperature behavior is exploited for extrusion (as in Styrofoam) and also for molding and vacuum forming, since it can be cast into molds with fine detail.
Courtesy of Iran Petroleum