Iran is on track to open the Middle East’s largest refinery around March 2020 to process gas flared at oil and gas production sites, Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zangeneh says.
The Bid Boland gas treating plant is one of Iran’s important projects, being built with $3.5 billion of investment, Zangeneh told the energy commission of parliament in Tehran.
The project is part of a major plan to contain 90 percent of gas flaring at Iranian production sites at a cost of more than $8 billion.
Zangeneh said some of the refineries are grappling with problems because US sanctions are preventing Iran to get delivery of the equipment it has bought to stop flaring natural gas.
The sanctions are “a crime against humanity” by US President Donald Trump, the Iranian minister said. “Gas flaring causes environmental pollution and the direct responsibility for the pollution of environment lies with Trump,” Zangeneh said.
Officials say the Bid Boland gas treating facility in Behbahan in the southern Khuzestan province will play a significant role in expanding Iran’s downstream petrochemical sector.
The facility is fed by the gas recovered from the supergiant South Pars and Aghajari and Aghaz fields.
Once operational, it will add 48 million cubic meters a day of methane to the national gas distribution network, besides producing 1.5 million tonnes of ethane and another 1.5 million tonnes of liquefied gas a year.
Ethane is used to make ethylene, the building block for a vast range of chemicals from plastics to antifreeze solutions and solvents.
On Monday, Iranian companies signed a $250 million deal to set up a high-density polyethylene (HDPE) unit at Tabriz Petrochemical Company (TPC).
Under the agreement signed in Tehran, TPC and the Petrochemical Research and Technology Company (PRTC) will cooperate on indigenizing the technology for production of HDPE.
"Sanctions have not stopped us; we are alive; we are active and are making efforts for the sake of Iran's oil industry," Zangeneh said earlier this month.
He made the remarks during a ceremony to sign a $440 million contract by Iran's Petropars to develop the Belal gas field in the Persian Gulf.
In addition to Belal gas field, Iran plans to begin operation at Farzad B gas field this year and resume developing Phase 11 of the giant South Pars gas field, Zangeneh said.
In September 2018, Iran brought online 3.4 million metric tons per year (mt/y) of new methanol, urea and ammonia capacity at a cost of $1.85 billion.