Speaking at the inaugural ceremony of the Fifth International Petrochemicals Conference, he said the industry has been experiencing some of its most difficult years in terms of profits.
He expressed the hope the petrochemical sector would be able to recover during the third or fourth quarter of the current year.
He predicted that investment in the sector would decline in the first decade of the current century compared with the figures in the 1990s.
The high prices of gas has badly damaged producers in North America and Europe and even in Asian countries, he said.
The country's rich deposits of hydrocarbon, the rapid growth in the Indian and Chinese economies, the upward trend in the country's petrochemical production by two digit figures along with demand in neighboring countries has led to the spike in investment in Iran's petrochemical industry, he said.
Through commissioning of new projects, the capacity of the country's petrochemical production could hit 16 million tons this year, he predicted.
During the fourth and fifth rounds of the conference, some five MOUs amounting to over dlrs 600 million were signed with foreign companies, he informed.
The presence of prominent executive directors from various well known companies around the globe promises very good prospects for mutual cooperation, he concluded.
Oil minister: National polymer production capacity to rise by 2m tons
Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said in Tehran Saturday that upon commissioning of phases six, seven and eight of the Alfin Petrochemicals Complex and the first phase of PET/PTA as well as implementation of an engineering polymer project, some two million tons will be added to the country's current polymer production capacity.
Speaking at the inaugural ceremony of the Fifth International Petrochemicals Conference, he said that other petrochemical projects such as Aromatics 3, with a projected capacity of 600,000 tons, ethanol 3, with a projected capacity of one million tons, and urea (for fertilizer), with a projected capacity of one million tons, will also go on stream in the near future.
He said there are other petrochemical projects that will be going on stream by the year 2005.
The oil ministry plans to expand the country's petrochemical sector and has plans to broaden bilateral and regional cooperation in the sector, he said, adding that the country's rich deposits of natural gas guarantee Iran's current and future participation in global markets.
The country's ample deposits of natural gas is attracting domestic and foreign capital into the sector, he said, adding that companies from South Africa, Germany and Sweden have indicated their keen interest to make lucrative investments.
The ministry intends to convert natural gas into other useful petrochemical products and introduce them in the market, he added.
He said that in order to expedite its goal, the ministry intends to put gas production in South Pars in the hands of both private and government companies.
He noted that parliament has passed new rules and regulations to absorb foreign capital into the country, in particular, in the South Pars economic zone.
Tens of foreign investors and contractors alongside thousands of domestic and foreign experts are now creating civilization in the petrochemicals sector of Persian Gulf countries, he said.
... Payvand News - 5/17/03 ... --