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European bank to invest in Iran's GTP project: Official

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
File photo shows a petrochemical plant in South Pars region in Iran's southern province of Bushehr. ©SHANA

Managing director of the National Petrochemical Company (NPC) says the company is planning to build a gas-to-propylene (GTP) plant through joint investment with a European bank.

In an interview with Iranian Oil Ministry's official SHANA news agency on Sunday, Abbas Sha’rimoqaddam noted that the GTP plant will have a total capacity of 120,000 tonnes a year and will be built as joint venture by NPC and the European bank, which he did not name.

The official added that according to current plans, the pilot GTP plant of the Petrochemical Research and Technology Company will soon turn into a bigger plant with annual capacity of 120,000 tonnes.

Noting that necessary permits for the construction of the new GTP plant have been obtained from the Oil Ministry, the official added that necessary funds for the implementation of the project will be provided by NPC in cooperation with a European bank, which will supply foreign exchange needed for this purpose.

Meanwhile, Esmail Qanbari, managing director of the Petrochemical Research and Technology Company told SHANA that the total cost of the construction of a GTP plant with the annual capacity of 120,000 tonnes has been estimated at about €90 million.

“At present, the pilot GTP plant is capable of producing one ton of propylene per day and its product conforms to all international standards,” he said.

During an interview in mid-July, Sha’rimoqaddam said Iran's petrochemical sector is ready to attract more foreign investment after the country reached the conclusion of its nuclear talks with the P5+1 group of countries – the US, the UK, France, Germany, China, and Russia – in Vienna on July 14, which led to an agreement between the two sides, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

According to JCPOA, sanctions against Iran's economic sectors, including oil and gas industry, will be lifted in return for certain restrictions on Tehran’s nuclear program.

Sha’rimoqaddam noted that petrochemical industry needs high volume of investment and technology transfer due to special nature of its activities.

He expressed hope that JCPOA would pave the way for “the transfer of advanced technical processes and know-how, over which we were facing restrictions as a result of sanctions.”

According to Ahmad Mahdavi Abhari, secretary of the Association of Petrochemical Industry Corporations (AIPC), Iranian petrochemical industry is capable of attracting USD 70 billion in domestic and foreign investment.

The official added that the value of half-finished projects in Iran's petrochemical sector amounts to USD 70 billion, proving that the sector has a good potential to attract foreign investment.

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