Over $1bn worth of Iranian petrochemical plants come on line

The Iranian government has launched three large petrochemical plants with over $1 billion in new investment as the country pushes ahead with plans to diversify the oil and gas sector by manufacturing more valuable products.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani used a video conference call on Thursday to inaugurate the three plants in the provinces of Ilam, Hamedan and West Azerbaijan, all in western Iran.

The official IRNA news agency said the projects had cost 280 trillion rials ($1.06 billion) in government and private investment.

The largest of the three was the olefin unit at Ilam Petrochemical Complex, a mega project where the annual output of various products, including ethylene, propylene and pyrolysis gasoline is expected to reach 750,000 metric tons.

Total investment spent on the olefin plant and its desulfurization facility has amounted to 866 million euros, said the IRNA report, adding that the project, known as the 13th Olefin in Iran, was a first in western Iran where the oil industry has a relatively low-key presence in underdeveloped regions like Ilam.

The Hegmataneh Petrochemicals, built just near the ancient city of Hamedan, also came on line on Thursday to become the first plant in the country manufacturing medical-grade plastics. Construction of the plant started nearly 17 years ago but it had stalled due to disputes between a local private investor, who owns nearly 57 percent of shares of the plant, and a government company with a 30-percent stake. The rest of shares in the factory is owned by an Italian company that has supplied the machinery.

A third new petchem project inaugurated by Rouhani on Thursday is located in the northwestern city of Urmia near the Turkish border. The plant is dedicated to production of potassium sulfate, a fertilizer widely used in industrial farming.

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