News ID: 259084
Published: 0337 GMT September 22, 2019

Petrochemicals top Iran's foreign currency earners: Minister

Petrochemicals top Iran's foreign currency earners: Minister

Petrochemicals have become Iran's biggest driver of foreign currency income from exports ever since US sanctions limited the OPEC member's crude sales, Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said on Sunday.

"The petrochemical industry stands on the front line of the economic war front," Zanganeh said.

"Compared to other sectors, this industry plays the biggest role in bringing back foreign currency revenues from exports of products," he noted.

Meanwhile, Behzad Mohammadi, the deputy oil minister of petrochemical affairs and managing director of the National Petrochemical Company said Iran plans to almost double investment in the domestic petrochemicals industry as a way to make up for losses in oil hit by sanctions.

Investment in petrochemicals will increase to $93 billion by 2025 from the $53 billion today, Mohammadi said.

Iran's oil production and hence exports have plummeted since the US stopped issuing waivers to eight buyers of Iranian oil in May.

Iranian crude output in August stood at 2.3mbd, according to a Platts OPEC Survey in early September.

The country has been boosting foreign sales of petrochemicals, either directly or through its commodity exchange, to compensate for sliding oil income.

While the sanctions imposed in November do apply to petrochemicals, Iran has been finding it easier to export some petrochemical products while attention has been focused on oil.

The value of Iran's petrochemical products need to rise to more than $25 billion with production capacity of more than 100 million tons by 2022, compared with the current value of $16 billion, said the oil minister.

The output of petrochemical byproduct, ethane, could reach 16 million tons per year in 2021, Zanganeh pointed out, adding that last year’s production stood at 7.3 million tons.

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