Analysts sceptical over Iranian methanol production projects

10 November 2010 17:37  [Source: ICIS news]

BARCELONA (ICIS)--Ambitious plans to expand Iran’s methanol production capacity were met with scepticism by some industry players on Wednesday at the 28th annual World Methanol Conference in Barcelona.

In a speech to delegates, Mohammad Hossein Navid Family, consultant to the managing director of Zagros Petrochemical Company (ZPC), outlined nine pipeline projects, with a total capacity of more than 15m tonnes/year, which would take Iran’s total to more than 20m tonnes/year.

Timelines were not given for all nine projects; but four of the projects, with a total capacity of over 6m tonnes/year, were expected to be completed by 2014.

However, analysts were doubtful over the plans. “I can’t see it happening; it’s too much [new capacity]. I think they’re over selling themselves. Besides, if all that new methanol came online, prices would go way down,” one analyst said.

When asked how current international sanctions against Iran could hamper the plans, Family admitted it could be difficult to acquire the necessary financing and technology.

Yet he was confident that as the holder of the world’s second largest proven natural gas reserves, Iran was well placed to become a major player on the world methanol scene.

ZPC currently operates two methanol plants of equal size at Assaluyeh, Iran, with a total capacity of 3.3m tonnes/year.

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By: Ross Yeo
+44 208 652 3214



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