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Iran chemical exports up 32pc in year
Tehran (Reuters) - Iran's petrochemicals exports rose to $600 million in the year to March, up from $452 million in the previous year, a senior official said yesterday.
Deputy Oil Minister Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh told an international energy seminar in Tehran that the exports accounted for a third of total petrochemical revenue in the Iranian year which ended on March 19.
Iran has made large investments in its petrochemical sector in the past decade, lifting annual output capacity to about 15 million tonnes, from 3.3 million tonnes in the year to March 1991.
Iran has said that it earned $452 million in the year to March 1999 by exporting 11.1 million tonnes of petrochemicals.
Nematzadeh said Iran aimed to boost annual production capacity to 38 million tonnes by 2005, and had a revenue target of $6-$7 billion a year, mainly from exports.
He said 15 major development projects were in hand, 10 of which have already been contracted. Contracts for the remaining five were expected to be signed in the current year which runs to March 2001.
"This is a giant leap. We have to move faster than other countries in order to raise our world output share to two per cent from 0.5 per cent now," he said.
Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh recently said Iran aimed to spend $7.5 billion over the next five years to boost petrochemical capacity.
Iran is seeking to attract investors through special economic zones at Bandar Imam Khomeini and Assaluyeh, near the giant South Pars offshore gas field which it aims to make a main source of feedstock to new petrochemical ventures.
The first three development phases of the South Pars field development are under way and officials say contracts for the next five phases are expected to be signed soon.
Iran, like other oil-dependent Gulf states, has been building petrochemical capacity to add value to its energy exports. Iran is the Middle East's second largest petrochemical producer after Saudi Arabia.
Nematzadeh said Iran's petrochemicals productions accounted for 14 per cent of that in the Middle East. Iranian officials have urged petrochemical producers in the region to cooperate to avoid a supply glut.