Construction works for a major petroleum coke plant has been launched in southern Iran as authorities hope the project could help the country cut its massive import bill and create thousands of jobs in the region.
Oil Minister Javad Owji was in the Bandar Abbas refinery, on the Persian Gulf coast, on Saturday to kick-start a project that will enable the refinery to produce sponge pet coke, a raw material widely used in the Iranian metals sector.
A senior aide to the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei accompanied Owji in the ceremony to launch the $2.2 billion project that will lead to a major increase and diversification of products in Bandar Abbas refinery.
Owji said Iranian Oil Ministry’s Research Institute will contribute to the construction and launch of the pet coke facility, adding that the project will create some 8,000 new jobs in the region.
He said Iran has become the sixth country in the world to now posses the technology to produce petroleum coke.
Iran has for years imported needle and sponge petroleum cokes for consumption in its steel mills and aluminum smelters.
A plan was developed several years ago to replace a bulk of mazut production in two major Iranian refineries with pet cokes.
According to the plans, the Bandar Abbas refinery will produce some 620,000 metric tons of sponge coke per year once it comes on line.
The Shazand refinery, located in central Iran, is also expected to produce 70,000 tons of needle coke per year under the program.