The Petrochemical Research and Technology Company of Iran signed a memorandum of understanding this week with France’s Air Liquide Engineering and Construction Company on transferring state-of-the-art technology to convert methanol to propylene.
According to NIPNA, the contracts were signed in the presence of Helmut Maschke, vice president for Central and Eastern Europe of Air Liquide Engineering and Construction, Marzieh Shahdaei, the head of National Petrochemical Company, and Esmaeil Qanbari, the head of PRTC, in Tehran late on Wednesday.
“PRTC has launched a pilot polypropylene production unit with a limited output of 120,000 tons per annum,” Qanbari said, noting that plans are in place to raise the production of the complex to 500,000 tons per year in cooperation with energy majors, namely Air Liquide.
Air Liquide is an engineering, construction and chemical process licensing company. Since 2007, it has been part of Air Liquide S. A., a multinational company that supplies industrial gases and services to industries. PRTC is the research and development arm of NPC.
“To complete the value chain of the petrochemical industry, NPC has set a tight schedule to boost polypropylene production, which entails cooperation between PRTC and multinationals,” Qanbari said.
According to NPC reports, plans call for increasing total production of propylene to 4 million tons per annum in 2021 and 8 million tons within the next decade.
Pointing to PRTC’s new model to interact with international firms, Qanbari said long-term collaboration with foreign enterprises will be contingent on their willingness to help us indigenize cutting-edge technologies that are transferred to Iran.
“Facilitating technical know-how transfer to the country, creating jobs, completing value-added chains in petrochemical industries and connecting upstream, midstream and downstream sectors are among the advantages of the new model,” he said.
“Our technology for producing propylene from methanol offers clients low cash costs and its propylene product can be used as feedstock for a variety of other petrochemical processes,” Maschke said, noting that Air Liquide combines cutting-edge innovation with a comprehensive portfolio of proprietary technology to contribute to the transformation of many industries.
— Protracted Talks
According to Qanbari, PRTC has also held lengthy talks with companies from Germany, Norway and Japan on purchasing petrochemical know-how, though no agreement has been reached yet.
NPC has already concluded an MoU with Sojitz Corporation, a major Japanese industrial and engineering conglomerate, to establish a methanol-to-propylene plant in Iran.
The deal is part of effort to raise installed petrochemical production capacity to 130 million tons annually by 2020.
PRTC signed an MoU with Norway’s Norner institute this year on providing Iranian petrochemical industry with know-how to develop polypropylene production.
Polypropylene is a thermoplastic polymer used in a wide variety of applications, including packaging and labeling, textiles, carpets, stationery, plastic parts and reusable containers of various types, laboratory equipment, loudspeakers, automotive components and polymer banknotes.
Polypropylene is the world’s second-most widely produced synthetic plastic, after polyethylene.
Nominal petrochemical production reached 62 million tons in the previous fiscal year (ended in March). Tehran hopes to more than double output in five years by attracting $70 billion in investment.