Iran methanol sales: Iran currently has an annual production capacity of more than 2.5 million tons of methanol in petrochemical complexes, and according to available evidence, it will reach 5 million tons within the next five years. Many experts see this as a win-win for Iran because with the entry of 5 million tonnes of methanol into the world market, Iran will be the first and last word on the price of this substance.During the boycott years, four issues led to the petrochemical industry, and in particular the private sector, shifting to methanol production in Iran. These four factors could lead to financing, availability of suitable land at sea, cheap gas prices compared to the region and the purchase of natural gas to methanol conversion technology before the sanctions were started, so in the next five years the country’s methanol production capacity would undoubtedly reach 25 million tonnes, which would be of great benefit to Iran if it was strategically managed in the petrochemical industry. Prior to this, the country’s petrochemical development was mostly in the ethylene sector, because of the abundance of ethane-driven products and the downstream industries growing as far as they could, but in order for these industries to grow faster, the propylene production should be propelled. Propylene creates and nourishes a broad chain of downstream industries, so Iran’s program is to produce propylene from methanol so as not to reduce the price of methanol in the market and to provide propylene production for the development of downstream industries in the country.
12 new Petrochemical Methanol Projects have construction progress between 12% to 100%, while Iran’s methanol production capacity is going to exceed 20 million tons per year with definitive exploitation of 10 projects by year 2021. Accordingly, it is anticipated that at least five new methanol projects will begin production in the next two years, with unit Kaveh Petrochemical with an annual production capacity of 2.310 million tons, Three other projects all with a production capacity of 1.650 million tones, they have a growth rate of between 61 and 100 percent. These plans are in operation from mid-year to year 2021, one after another.
In total, with all of the 12 methanol projects under construction, the country’s petrochemical production capacity reaches about 25 million tons per year, making Iran the world’s largest producer of methanol.
The latest analysis by Global Data Energy Institute on increasing methanol production capacity in the world shows that Iran will have the highest methanol production capacity in the world in the coming years and will increase its capacity to 30 million tonnes annually from 2018 to 2022. The United States and China will rank second and third, with an increase of 12 and 10 million tons, respectively. Forecasts show that Iran will account for 54% of total methanol production increase in the world by year 2022. Iran plans to build 12 new methanol production complexes. Among these projects, Kaveh Methanol Complex will have the highest capacity (2.3 million tonnes). By the year, the United States will account for 22 percent of the world’s methanol production capacity growth, according to the report.
Conversion of methanol to propylene
Methanol is one of the low-value products of the petrochemical industry in Iran today, with the nongovernmental sector focusing on capacity development. The current state of methanol production in Iran is such that only 232,000 tonnes (equivalent to 5 percent of its total production) is consumed domestically and more than 95 percent of the produced methanol is exported overseas. Currently, although no serious and effective action is being taken to develop the methanol value chain, Iran’s private sector is pursuing significant production growth plans for this group of petrochemicals. With the methanol plants currently under construction, Iran’s methanol production reaches about 25 million tons of methanol from the current 6.6 million tons a year, which means a shock to the entire methanol market worldwide! It may be on this basis that the National Petrochemical Company of Iran will no longer authorize domestic and foreign investors to build methanol plants.
Iranian petrochemical industry experts in the past few years have been able to obtain at any cost the technical knowledge of propylene production from methanol. They have even succeeded in piloting this technical know-how, and although they are not allowed to invest in the petrochemical industry under the privatization law, they have received tremendous approval from the government to invest in NPC technology. NPC recently announced the construction of a 120,000-ton unit of propylene methanol (PVM) production in the country with the joint venture of the National Petrochemical Company and a European bank. It is planned that the pilot (petrochemical production facility) of the Petrochemical Research and Technology Company will soon be converted into a larger unit with a capacity of 120,000 tons per year.
Light olefins, ethylene, propylene and butylenes are key elements in the petrochemical industry that are widely used as raw materials for the production of polyolefins and are expected to play a more prominent role in the future of the economy. Among them, ethylene and propylene, as the main feedstock for petrochemical plants, are widely used in the production of chemicals and plastics. It is projected that the average annual growth rate of propylene demand will be about 4% between years 2015 and 2020, which the speed growth and propylene use in polypropylene and acrylic acid applications will be faster. The increasing divergence in the production and demand for propylene is the driving force behind the new processes that will fill this gap along with the current processes.
Since the early 1990s, light olefins production methods have undergone significant changes, along with conventional processes (steam and catalytic cracking), the use of new and available technologies (propane hydrogenation and methanol conversion to light olefins) has been put on the business companies’ agenda.
Due to the type of feed required for different propylene production processes, the PVM process has received more attention than other processes due to the availability of methanol. Methanol is easily produced by proven technologies available from coal or natural gas. Currently, methanol is produced in five Iranian Petrochemical Complexes, with a total nominal installed capacity of methanol of 6.6 million tons per year. Due to the rapid growth of the petrochemical industry in the last 10 years and the establishment of numerous methanol production plants in Iran in the coming years, the process of production of this chemical in Iran is rapidly increasing, so one of the economic ways to use excess methanol market is to convert it to valuable products including propylene.
Iran’s first place in the exploitation of the combined resources of gas and oil has made it the main focus of human society in the contemporary world. The widespread development of energy technologies from exploration to refining and processing of oil and gas in Iran on the one hand, its historical civilizational identity on the other hand, as well as the geopolitical and strategic geographical position of Iran on the other, have provided valuable insights to Iran to become the energy pole of the future world.
In view of the above, the most important competitive advantage of investing and developing petrochemical industries in Iran is undoubtedly the availability of suitable feedstuffs such as natural gas, ethane, naphtha and condensates at a wide and competitive price; The capacity of purification and transfer of gas in the country is about 750 million cubic meters per day, which will soon reach up to 1 billion cubic meters per day. In addition, access to ethane as a petrochemical feed plays a key role in consolidating Iran’s competitive position in petrochemical production.
With the completion of the South Pars phases, ie the completion of Phase 12 to 24 development plans, it will be able to deliver up to 650 thousand barrels per day of condensate per day and 2.5 million tonnes of LPG (including propane and butane) and 4 million tons of ethane per year which ethane is fully and other items based on need is supplied to the petrochemical industry.