“The new unit will have the capacity to sweeten 2 million tons of heavy fuel oil, lubricating oils, wax and asphalt per annum,” Mojtaba Taheri was also quoted as saying by NIPNA on Saturday.
Sweetening processes oxidize sulfur-containing compounds into more innocuous disulfides, which remain in heavy distillates.
Commenting on the details of the strategic plan, Taheri said Axens is among a handful of firms equipped with much-needed know-how to build and run the unit, Financial Tribune reported.
According to the official, as soon as negotiations yield results, an EPC (engineering, procurement, and construction) contract worth $175 million will be signed.
Asked about the company’s plan to complete its value chain, he noted that further development of the plant will be contingent upon attracting investment, but at present there are no plans to manufacture value added products such as linear alkyl benzene.
Taheri added, “Upon the completion of the new heavy distillate sweetening unit, two more units will be needed to complete the value chain and increase profitability. Nonetheless, providing the project with a piece of land poses a big challenge.”
Axens is an international provider of advanced technologies, catalysts and services to the petrochemical industries. The main scope of Axens’ business is the conversion of oil, gas, biomass and coal to fuels and major petrochemical intermediates.
Nouri Petrochemical Company produced over 4.7 million tons of petrochemicals in the fiscal 2016-17, its biggest output volume in the past 10 years.
According to Bloomberg, the company’s petrochemical output last year, which ended on March 20, exceeded its nominal production capacity of 4.5 million tons.
Based on the company’s website, Nouri is one of the world’s largest production plants for aromatics. It is a subsidiary of the Persian Gulf Petrochemical Industries Company, the biggest consortium of Iranian petrochemical producers.
Nouri plant was launched in 2007 at a cost of $240 million.
In the previous fiscal, the company sold about 1.8 million tons of its total output to domestic customers, earning $910 million in revenues, and exported 2.9 million tons worth $1.49 billion.
The plant’s output, which includes paraxylene, orthoxaylene and raffinate, are mainly shipped to the Persian Gulf Arab countries as well as to India, China and South Korea.
Tehran said its new petrochemical ventures require over $70 billion in investments that should mostly come from foreign sources.
Petrochemical is Iran’s most important industry after oil and gas. NPC hopes to lift nominal output capacity to more than 120 million tons per annum by 2022, the end of Iran’s Sixth Five-Year Economic Development Plan.
The country holds some of the world’s largest crude oil and natural gas reserves, but its petrochemical industry is underdeveloped in comparison.
The government of President Hassan Rouhani is on a mission to make better use of the massive hydrocarbon deposits by expanding petrochemical plants, which would significantly increase Iran’s revenues compared to income from crude and gas exports with no added value.