Iran Petrochemical Industry

TIME CODE: 00:00_05:00

Narration:A new born and glorifying industry with many hopes for a bright future. Imposed war, damage, sanctions and many other challenges. All the forces that have tried to unturned the instruments of Iran's Petrochemical Industries.I am a journalist, with lots of unanswered questions about an industry, that has lived in this country for more than 50 years. Join me to find out how this industry survived through all these challenging years. To see how threats have turned into opportunities.

This is a glance to Iran’s petrochemical industry, the industry that experienced many ups and downs during its life time. The moment that the industry almost reached the point of collapse, In order to fully understand the Iran’s Petrochemical industry we have to start from the point and that point for sure is the history of oil in this country. The reason for this approach is something you will find out very soon. You just have to be patient.

Oil was discovered in commercial point when we saw west of Iran in may 1908.

Britain's influence on the Iranian government, in addition to unfair and discriminatory oil contracts, has literally turned Iran to another colony of Great Britain. But there are always people in every community who stand up against imperialism.

In 1951, a bill, which was introduced by Mohamad Mosadegh and his allies passed by the Iranian parliament. Iran's oil industry became nationalized. This was the beginning of an unjust war against Iran.

Britain, with the help of its western allies, imposed sanctions against Iran, blocked Iran's foreign assets and threatened Iran with military action. Anything, that they could have done to pressure this country. Mohamad Mosadegh who is now the prime minister of Iran was not going to give up. The only option remaining for Britain, was to plot a coup, with the help of The United States, the Shah of Iran and his loyal military personnel. These forces combined, managed to overthrow the popular government of Mohamad Mosadegh, and he remained under house arrest, for the rest of his life. Britain took control of Iran's oil industry back again, but Iran's oil, remained nationalized!

SOUNDBITE [English] Shahriyar Azimi, Host: “A small group of Iranian oil experts with vision and ambition, decided to kick off Iran's Petrochemical Industry at a time that the other oil producing countries in the region had no vision about this field! In 1965, the National Iranian Petrochemical Company was established and one of those guys, whose name was Mohammad Bagher Mostofi, was appointed as the director of this newly established facility. In his diary, Mostofi says: “We formed a board. These guys know their job very well, they know how to plan and most importantly they know how to implement it”.

TIME CODE: 05:00_10:00

Narration: In 1976, the first contract was signed between Iran's National Petrochemical Company and Allied Chemical.

Its value, 25 million dollars. An opportunity to form a 50-50 joint venture between one of the best and most experienced American companies in the field of petrochemical and the newly established Shapoor, also known as Razi Petrochemical Company. Shapoor or Razi Petrochemical Company in Iran was like the Ford for American Automotive Industry. Razi was not just a petrochemical company, but a pioneer in a movement, which was about to start.

SOUNDBITE [English] Shahriyar Azimi, Host: “The establishment of Raazi Petrochemical Complex and hundreds of other petrochemical factories, proved that Iranians are capable of doing some great work. But deciding to build one of the largest petrochemical complexes in the world, at a time when none of the countries in the region had a single petrochemical factory, was a phenomenon. Negotiations started with the Japanese. But this path won't be without challenges.”

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Abbas Shaari Moghadam, Former CEO of NPC: “They signed a contract with the Mitsui & C. L.T.D. to build the biggest petrochemical complex in Western Asia and the Middle East that was one of the biggest such complexes in the world as well.”

Narration: Iranians had enough money and raw material but they were lacking expertise. They were only involved in preparations and civil work; and they were not happy about this. Time will show us if Iranians are capable to take charge of the complicated and technical tasks of this industry.

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Mohammad Hassan Peyvandi, Deputy Managing Director of NPC: “It is considered one of my honors that I found a malfunction in the Japanese work when I was just a novice engineer. The Japanese stationed in Iran and the Toyo engineering company did not confirm the defect. But our Japanese manager who was an experienced man sent my finding to Japan and [engineers] there confirmed that I was right.”

SOUNDBITE [English] Shahriyar Azimi, Host: “The construction project was moving on very smoothly. Iranian engineers and technicians were gaining new experience and learning new techniques. By finishing this megaproject, Iran will become a major player in the field of petrochemical in the World. Now I can understand why Iranians were so passionate about this project and so eager to finish it.”

Narration: But an event is on the way that not only diverged the progress path of the construction project, but also engaged the whole country, in a difficult situation. By late October 1978, a nationwide general strike was declared, with workers in virtually all major industries walking off their jobs and joining the revolutionary movement in Iran. Like other sectors of Iran's economy, the petrochemical industry also halted and many projects were disrupted.

TIME CODE: 10:00_15:00

Narration: The Japanese contractors of Iran-Japan megaproject left Iran. This was the first time, but it won't be the last time that they drop the ball and leave this country.

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Protesters: “Victory to the nation, humility to the Shah…”

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, Former Shah of Iran: “It’s while that I’ve been feeling tired and need to rest…”

Narration: The Shah left the country and after 15 years of exile, Ayatollah Khomeini returned to Iran. Victory of Islamic Revolution in Iran. Eventually people started going back to their jobs. Businesses reopened and the economy regained its momentum.

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Abbas Shaari Moghadam, Former CEO of NPC: “The Revolutionary Council began to review the projects to see which one benefits the country. The Iran-Japan project was confirmed as a good plan that needed to continue. The Council tasked a team with negotiating with the Japanese so that they resume their job.”

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Mohammad Hassan Peyvandi, Deputy Managing Director of NPC: “In 1979 the Japanese returned to Iran following talks. Projects were about to restart when the imposed war on Iran began in September 1980.”

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Voice of Radio: “The siren you are hearing now means warning or the red state.”

Narration: In September 1980, Iraq invaded some of Iran's border cities and towns and the 20th Century's longest war began. The battlefield extends along Iran's 1,458 kilometer western border with Iraq and parts of the Persian Gulf. Most of Iran's petrochemical facilities were located close to the border with Iraq and they were among the first critical targets attacked by Iraqi forces.

Iran's critical industries like Oil, Gas and Petrochemical were targeted several times during the war with Iraq. The damage was beyond expectations. Iran's Petrochemical Industry was almost paralyzed.

SOUNDBITE [English] Shahriyar Azimi, Host: “By the way, what happened to Razi Petrochemical Complex which was like a symbol, a pioneer in the field of petrochemical in Iran. Due to its geographical location, Razi was bombarded and attacked more than 20 times. With all the damage to Razi Petrochemical Complex, the enemy thought that it shocked Iran's Petrochemical Industry.”

Narration:Raazi Petrochemical Factory was like a badly wounded Iranian soldier who was not giving up!

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Hamid Bahrami Zadeh, Personnel of Razi Petrochemical Complex:

“We had two Ammonia reservoirs. The number two depot contained some 25,000 tones of Ammonia. An Iraqi fighter jet targeted the depot soon after the war began. Shrapnel has made holes in container and ammonia was coming out. We were ordered to empty the container before anything happened.

Quivers struck the container and Ammonia was splashing out if it. An order asked [us] to empty the container before anything happened.

If the number two depot was at its full capacity at the time the Iraqi Air Force bombarded here, a humanitarian catastrophe could have happened in the region.”

Narration: Products of this petrochemical factory were crucial for our country especially during the war time.

TIME CODE: 15:00_20:00

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Hamid Bahrami Zadeh, Personnel of Razi Petrochemical Complex: “Our country’s power plants needed Sulfuric Acid to work. We had to produce it. And despite all the dangers of war threatening us we used to produce the Acid and distribute it across the country to meet the demands of the units that needed it.”

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Hamid Bahrami Zadeh, Personnel of Razi Petrochemical Complex: “Our employees used to maintain the facilities and save the national asset at the same time. And they ran the operational parts such as the Acid Unit, the Gas Treatment unit, the Frasch process unit; all except the Ammonia unit that was out of order due to certain risks.”

Narration: Iranian engineers, workers and technicians or I should say heroes, were working so hard under constant attacks, most of the time 24/7 to repair ongoing war damage and keep Razi alive and running.

SOUNDBITE [English] Shahriyar Azimi, Host: “The Iran-Japan megaproject, the one that Iranians were so proud of. The one that was supposed to make Iran a key player in the market. The one that everyone was counting down for its inauguration day. The Iran-Japan megaproject almost vanished, in front of the eyes of those who put their lives on the line, fighting a war and building this complex.”

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Mohammad Hassan Peyvandi, Deputy Managing Director of NPC: “The complex was hit by rockets and airstrikes almost 30 times.”

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Mohammad Gholi Younesi, Deputy CEO of Bandar PetrochemicalComplex: “The power plant and the Liquid Separation units were significantly damaged.”

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Mohammad Hassan Peyvandi, Deputy Managing Director of NPC: “Unexploded bombs were discovered in certain parts of the complex that were muddy and still under construction.”

Narration: The Iran-Japan megaproject was a symbol of ambition, endeavor, bravery and hard work. But unfortunately it was aborted before its birth. Japanese personnel of the Iran-Japan megaproject left the country again.

SOUNDBITE [English] Shahriyar Azimi, Host: “The country is desperately in need of petrochemical products, especially in the health section. Import and export has been interrupted for a long time. There is no vision for the end of war. The managers of Iran Petrochemical Industry have to make a decision, a very important decision, which can be like a double edge sword. It can make things worse or save the industry.”

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Abbas Shaari Moghadam, Former CEO of NPC: “All of Khuzestan province was war front while the country needed the petrochemical industry. We were forced to plan for smaller units in the more central parts of Iran where the raw material were available. Where was the material accessible? Close to refineries.”

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Mohammad Hassan Peyvandi, Deputy Managing Director of NPC: “It was decided to build medium-capacity complexes to produce raw material for making plastic products that the country needed.”

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Abbas Shaari Moghadam, Former CEO of NPC: “Therefore, we decided to establish a petrochemical complex close to Arak Refinery and another one next to Tabriz Refinery.”

Narration: With very limited human, financial and technological resources, due to sanctions and war damage, we are going to invest on new projects. Building new petrochemical complexes inside the country. If these projects fail, not only won't we be able to provide the crucial materials needed for the country, but we waste a big portion of our country's limited resources during war time.Technicians turned threats to opportunities; and the country's basic needs were supplied.

In 1988, a peace agreement is signed between Iran and Iraq. The war is over and our borders remain intact. War has left casualties, damage and ruins like the remains of the Iran-Japan megaproject.

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Abbas Shaari Moghadam, Former CEO of NPC: “We began reconstruction right after the end of war. We repaired the damages and swiftly brought idle complexes back to function. But the biggest reconstruction project was that of the Iran-Japan company in the port city of Bandar Imam Khomeini.”

TIME CODE: 20:00_25:00

Narration: In the process of repairing damage and reconstructing this megaproject, Iranians only had two options before them. They either had to outsource the whole process to foreign companies like before the war, or use the experience they gained from the war time, with a risk taking attitude; and take the control of the reconstruction process in their own hands.

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Abbas Shaari Moghadam, Former CEO of NPC: “The Japanese believed the post-war Iran-Japan complex was of no use and had to be leveled to the ground to be built again.”

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Mohammad Gholi Younesi, Deputy CEO of Bandar PetrochemicalComplex: The Japanese did not accept to cooperate because they thought that the complex had lost its profitability. After rounds of negotiations with them, we finally inked a separation deal in early 1990 and they paid us some one billion dollars in compensation.”

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Abbas Shaari Moghadam, Former CEO of NPC: “We began to reconstruct the project and made it operational again.We were aided by German companies in the reconstruction procedure. But the part we did on our own was the reconstruction of the Aromatics Unit of the Iran-Japan project.”

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Hamidreza Rostami, Programming and Developing Manager of NPC: “This unit was left unfinished and the documents needed for its building had not been finalized. Some of the towers that had been built got damaged during the war.”

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Abbas Shaari Moghadam, Former CEO of NPC: “I was the CEO of the Bandar Imam Petrochemical Complex back then. Mr. Nejabat was our projects’ director. He told [then president] Mr. Hashemi that if you give us half of the amount of money the Germans have asked for, we’re ready to reconstruct the complex in the same time span as the one proposed by the Germans or even sooner than that. Mr. Hashemi accepted to do so.”

SOUNDBITE [English] Shahriyar Azimi, Host: “Automatics unit is a very important part of Bandar-e-Imam Petrochemical Complex. Before the war it was almost about 30 percent complete. After the war, zero percent. Proposals came in from different companies from all around the World. For example a German company was asking for 500 Million Dollars and 31 months, to rebuild this heavily damaged unit. Managers and decision makers of Iran's Petrochemical Industry decided to trust and believe in local expertise and knowledge. Reconstruction project was assigned to Iranian experts.”

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Hamidreza Rostami, Programming and Developing Manager of NPC: “Iranians were running the operational and the maintenance units. We can say that the engineering unit was also indigenized to a large extent and was run by Iranians. It was from that point onwards that we saw progress being made.”

Narration: About 15 new complexes were planned to be built in this area. This piece of land, in the south of Iran by the Persian Gulf is about to become Iran's first Petrochemical Hub. Bandar-e-Imam complex is now a part of a huge petrochemical zone, known as Mahshahr.

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Mohammad Gholi Younesi, Deputy CEO of Bandar PetrochemicalComplex: Setting up of the Bandar Imam Petrochemical Complex turned out to be the blood running through the veins of the oil industry, and especially the petrochemical industry.”

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Abbas Shaari Moghadam, Former CEO of NPC: “The Iran-Japan project, with a wide range of products, was itself a source of credit. It’s annual revenue was huge. [The managers] took advantage of the outcome and the credit and got billions of dollars in loans with no need for the Central Bank or government warranties.”

TIME CODE: 25:00_30:00

SOUNDBITE [English] Shahriyar Azimi, Host: “Right here behind me is the Persian Gulf. Underneath this water, there is the largest natural Gas field in the World.

It covers an area of 9700 Square kilometers. Only by itself, for 10 constant years, it can supply the energy needed by the population of the World. This is a shared Gas field between Iran and Qatar. For about a decade, when Iran was dealing with war and post war issues, Qatar was the only one who was benefiting from this precious natural resource.

In order to compensate for the time that was lost, Iranian officials decided to kick-off a megaproject called South Pars. So we could reach the level that Qatar is extracting gas, as soon as possible.

Now it's time for the Petrochemical Industry to prove itself again and show what role it can play in this game.

South of Iran, on the Persian Gulf, where we are standing right now is called Siraf. A historical city, which used to be the most important commercial seaport in Iran. Back in the old days, about 1500 years ago, Siraf was doing lots of trades, imports and exports with different countries in different continents, including Asia, Africa and even Europe. Siraf was a very crucial commercial point in Iran.

Today, just a few kilometers down the road, a new city is being formed, it is a commercial city though, but considering all the potentials that this city has, I don't think it will take a long time.”

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Mohammad Hassan Peyvandi, Deputy Managing Director of NPC: “We had to invest in an aggressive way because we were using resources shared with countries such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia. When you’re dealing with a shared resource you have to make sure you’re taking your own portion.”

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Abbas Shaari Moghadam, Former CEO of NPC: “Mr. Nematzadeh found out that the oil industry was active in the South Pars Gas Field and raw material was available there. He said we’re also ready to develop the field. They said there’s not enough space, but Mr. Nematzadeh insisted that a small area would do. The Petrochemical Commercial Company was given a small space and was allowed to use it as it wished.”

Narration: A very limited geographical location, surrounded by mountains to the north and the Persian Gulf to the south. It is even hard to imagine that this place will become one of the major petrochemical hubs of the World.

Experience from the construction of Bandar-e-Imam and financial resources generated from the same area, were the main reasons behind the dream come true.

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Mohammad Hassan Peyvandi, Deputy Managing Director of NPC: “We managed to efficiently use the raw materials. We expanded the engineering capacities of the country and also the construction equipment. We created many jobs.”

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Abbas Shaari Moghadam, Former CEO of NPC: “And Asalouyeh turned into a center of development and a new petrochemical hub. Therefore, we now have two petrochemical hubs: one in Bandar Imam and the other in here.”

Narration: A new Siraf, but this time based on petrochemical products has been formed. With the addition of Asaluyeh to the country's petrochemical market, Iran's production capacity, skyrocketed to more than 60 Million tons per year.

TIME CODE: 30:00_35:00

Narration: Asaluyeh is like a mature tree which is expanding its branches. The World's longest Ethylene pipeline, which is more than 2600 kilometers, expands from the very south to the southwest and all the way to the northwest of the country.

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Abdol- Hossein Bayat, Former CEO of NPC: “The longest Ethylene pump line of the world [in Asalouyeh] is 450 to 600 kilometers long. Ten to twelve Olefins units would be linked to this line now or in future. And that dramatically increases production stability in the petrochemical industry. This is a unique possibility of ours.”

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Marzieh Shahdaei, CEO of NPC: “The pipe line has covered vast provinces in the southwest, west and south of Iran and that would be the source of development in Iran’s industries.”

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Abdol- Hossein Bayat, Former CEO of NPC: “Up until now 1750 kilometers of the pipe line has been built and Ethylene has been injected in the pipes.”

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Marzieh Shahdaei, CEO of NPC: “A polyethylene unit has been designed in provinces where the pipe line crosses. The goal was to help smaller industries and industrial towns form near the pipe line and use the material in every province.”

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Abdol- Hossein Bayat, Former CEO of NPC: “Now we can directly transport polymer material to neighboring countries. We can also change it into other goods and export the final products to other countries via our shared borders. This can significantly increase the country’s income.”

Narration: This pipeline supplies 3.5 Million tons of Ethylene every year to other petrochemical factories. This is the milestone in the life of Iran's Petrochemical Industry. But the road will be bumpy.

SOUNDBITE [English] Shahriyar Azimi, Host: “Sanctions are not very strange to Iranians. Back in the old days, when we wanted to take control of our own oil industry, we got sanctioned. Later on, after the victory of Islamic Revolution of 1979, some countries saw that movement as a threat, so we got sanctioned again.”

SOUNDBITE [English] Barack Obama, Former US President: We are engaged in a process to reach out to Iran and persuade them that it is not in their interest to pursue a nuclear weapon and that they should change course. But I assured the Prime Minister that we are not foreclosing a range of steps, including much stronger international sanctions.”

SOUNDBITE [English] Shahriyar Azimi, Host: “These new and very harsh sanctions which are directly targeting a key section of Iran's economy. At the time that we are becoming a nuclear energy player in the World are not surprising to us. Sanctions are harsh to the extent, that Iranian students abroad are having difficulties to pay their tuition, because no money can be transferred to them.”

Narration: Very much like those desperate Iranian students, Iran Petrochemical Industry is in need of some fundamental and crucial software and hardware and this reminds me of the time that we were in war with Iraq, when Iran's Petrochemical Industry was almost paralyzed.

TIME CODE: 35:00_40:00

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Hamidreza Rostami, Programming and Developing Manager of NPC: “The petrochemical industry is a sophisticated and a highly technological industry and its maintenance was kind of hard under sanctions.”

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Mehdi Qorbani, Head of Self-Sufficiency Committee of Mobin Petrochemical Complex: “The first problem was that the supervisors left Iran and with them brought away their knowledge. They refused to support us or answer to our questions. In the next phase, they sanctioned the spare parts.”

Narration: Mobin Petrochemical Complex in Asaluyeh, one of the largest centralized utility providers in the World. Provider of crucial services such as water, steam and electricity for about 16 petrochemical complexes. Anything that interrupts the production at Mobin complex can cause the complete shutdown of about 16 petrochemical sites. This means no export from Asaluyeh and it is equal to loss of millions of Dollars per day.

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Ebrahim Salehi, Head, Safety Department Of Mobin Petrochemical Complex: “Power outage of even one second can cause blackouts in those phases of Asalouyeh that we provide with electricity. For this very reason we can say that this complex is the heart of Asalouyeh and thank God it’s beating.”

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Mehdi Qorbani, Head of Self-Sufficiency Committee of Mobin Petrochemical Complex: “Unfortunately one of our pumps got damaged in an accident at a time when the Japanese were still here but were preparing to leave the country following sanctions. They said we will produce the parts you need in eleven months and then get back to resolve the problem for you.

We examined different methods until we found a solution. We changed the damaged part and turned the new one on. The whole process took 4 or 5 months. I sent an email to the Japanese with photos of our work and told them we did it. At that time one of their representatives was still in Iran. He came and saw what we did. Then he sent an email and congratulated us on our achievement and even asked us to share our experience with him. It’s been 6 or 7 years that the part we made is constantly working with no problem.”

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Reza Qassemi Shahri, CEO of Jam Petrochemical Complex: “The American John Zink Company issued a letter saying they don’t sell anything to Iran, Libya and Iraq. We started our own work and made burners. The fourth of them was put into service and we placed four spare burners next to it. At that time the Kawazaki Company was providing us with spare parts. I brought a Japanese man named Arikawa into the workshop and told him you didn’t give us the four burners we needed. We built them. Tell us to make them for you if you need any for your other projects. He said we have a project in Pakistan and want you to make 4 for that project.”

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Mehdi Qorbani, Head of Self-Sufficiency Committee of Mobin Petrochemical Complex: “Right now the spare parts of the turbines and other equipment that are all made of super alloys and are unique parts are being built here. They have been used in power generating turbines for years now.”

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Hamidreza Rostami, Programming and Developing Manager of NPC: “Sanctions and pressures fostered domestic production in line with the domestic need. From the simplest things such as the flange gasket to the most advanced ones like compressors were all indigenized in Iran and different companies boomed in this field.”

Narration: Eventually many critical hardware were re-engineered and made or copied by Iranian technicians. But the creation of science and knowledge is more complicated. A few years ago the petrochemical research and technical company was established. No one ever thought that this newly established company could become responsible for tackling sanctions in the software section and the obstacles they caused that could shut down many petrochemical factories in Iran.

TIME CODE: 40:00_45:00

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Javid Vaezi, Director of Research and Technology Department of Mahshahr Complex: “Petrochemical Research and Technical Company was established to design, install and produce pilot units that are used for gaining the technical knowledge of producing chemical products in a half-industrial scale.”

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Behrouz Roozbahani, Programming and Research Coordination Manager of Mahshahr Complex: “This company is 10 or 12 years old. But I can say it’s some 5 or 4 years that we have seriously entered petrochemical fields. What is important is that we’re competing with centuries-old companies such as the BSF.”

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Javid Vaezi, Director of Research and Technology Department of Mahshahr Complex: “At times we didn’t have the crucial plans. In other occasions we lacked the process explanation. Our experts worked on these issues and completed the equipment where there was something missing.”

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Behrouz Roozbahani, Programming and Research Coordination Manager of Mahshahr Complex: “We couldn’t sell our natural gas under sanctions and we had a lot of oversupply. For the first time in the world our company decided to turn the Methanol extracted from natural gas into Propylene gas. The gas is one of the most badly needed shortcomings of Iran and the world’s petrochemical industries. We acquired the technology to produce Propylene gas out of Methanol. The gas will be turned into Polypropylene gas. We have no problem in this part. The problem was how to make Propylene. The MTP (Methanol to Propylene) process is under our exclusive license. It’s the first time that we start building a unit that annually produces 120,000 tones of the product and is sold round the clock and we use the money generated this way. We learned the alphabets of research. You can be sure that even after the removal of sanction no one would ever provide you with technical knowledge.”

Narration: Two years of long meetings and tense negotiations between Iran and super powers is over. Confusions and misunderstandings about Iran's nuclear capability are resolved. An agreement has been signed and Iran's nuclear energy rights have been recognized by the World. The process of lifting sanctions on Iran has started. International trades with Iran and investments in this country are about to kick off.

International Petrochemical Forum on this huge scale with participants from all around the World, who are professional investors and key players in this market, tells me that there is something going on and I have to find out.

After days of business talks and friendly chats, I realized that our guests believe that this is a very strongly rooted industry in Iran. For sure, the presence of these people and their passion would never exist if this was an unsafe market to invest.

INTERVIEW [English] Christopher Copper-Ind, Editorial Director and Consultant: “What we are interested in here at the business years to see what's happening in the economy first hand. So coming here to the conference was a great opportunity to see on the cusp of the sanctions being lifted, what people in the petrochemical sector are say about next year and the years to come.”

INTERVIEW [English] Duduer Houssin, Head of IFP Energies Nouvelles: “In a such a global market when you have a big and important change, of course this ... everybody looks in it and see "ok, what's gonna happen" and there are important part of the factors here so we want to be here. You know because also all the competitors want to be here.”

TIME CODE: 45:00_51:26

INTERVIEW [English]Eduardo Neto, CEO of Rolamd Berger Energy Strategy Consulting Firm: “We believe that, you know, from the project announced, actually in the next 2 to 3 years 5 years, Iran will be the country that you know grow faster on the petrochemicals, so represent most of the growth in particularly chemic from Middle East and hence, start getting that, you know that market access.”

INTERVIEW [English] Duduer Houssin, Head of IFP Energies Nouvelles: “This is an area and which I think we can work very closely with Iranian companies because they have the engineering capacity, the people, very large facilities of the largest petrochemical facilities in the World. So, within the terms of technology, probably we can bring something additional to the Iranian industry and that can be a win-win deal for us. So technology transfers first and secondly education and training. We are taking contact to see how we can help the industry to train engineers as well as technicians to develop these new technologies and in a safe time to develop the industry.”

INTERVIEW [English]Eduardo Neto, CEO of Rolamd Berger Energy Strategy Consulting Firm: “International companies are, you know, very keen and you know, of partnering and developing long term relationship with Iran, so I think it is now a matter of time of also you know, developing those relationships and also starting with new topics and new projects that we have new prospect with time coming that would be revamp on the existing, you know, assets as well.”

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Marzieh Shahdaei, CEO of NPC: “We have taken into consideration special zones for the expansion of the petrochemical industry in future. We want to bring the industry into Pars Three zone; also the Parsian region which is close to Asalouyeh. Jask especial zone and Chabahar special zone are other sites we have in mind.”

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Hamidreza Rostami, Programming and Developing Manager of NPC: “Based upon our calculations, we’re having some 2.02% of the world’s petrochemical performance and 22.5 or 22.02% of the Middle East or the Persian Gulf region’s performance.”

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Marzieh Shahdaei, CEO of NPC: “Iran is a unique country considering the potential it has in investing in petrochemical industry since we have all the types of raw material this industry needs. Other countries in the Middle East either have gas resources or oil resources.”

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Mohammad Hassan Peyvandi, Deputy Managing Director of NPC: “If you take a look at the countries in the Middle East you see that their petrochemical industries are not indigenized even though they enjoy from immense technical knowledge. That is their industries are not national, they are multi-national.”

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Marzieh Shahdaei, CEO of NPC: Foreign investors see revenue 15% to 18% a good earning. Projects that deal with gas material would most probably have higher than 18% of profitability for them. Since Iran has domestic human resources and also Iranian contractors and equipment, the entire process would be cost-effective for the foreigners. Moreover, the Iranian market with some 80-million population is seeing the development of its smaller industries, car-making industry is developing, and the foreigners count on these markets as well.”

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Hamidreza Rostami, Programming and Developing Manager of NPC: “Based on the sixth development plan we hope to increase our installation capacity to 130 million tons which is approximately twice the current number. And we hope to get to 180 million tons at the end of the plan.”

SOUNDBITE [Persian] Mohammad Hassan Peyvandi, Deputy Managing Director of NPC: “As I have always said there’s no reason to prevent Iran from holding mastery over the global petrochemical industry.”

SOUNDBITE [English] Shahriyar Azimi, Host: “During the past five decades, some major incidents including war and sanctions, tried to untune the musical instruments of Iran's Petrochemical Industry. But what I'm hearing today, is the sound of a bunch of perfectly tuned musical instruments. They are all being play together and I'm pretty sure that this music will be more pleasant in the near future.”

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