Iran"s annual 12th Iran Plast September 24-27 in the capital Tehran. A total of 35 countries showcased their products. Visitors came from 20 nations to hold talks with Iranian companies. Such number of visitors against the backdrop of US sanctions indicates the significance of Iran"s polymer and plastic industry at the regional and global levels. Due to the high quality of Iranian-made products and low cost prices, Iran remains highly attractive in this sector.
To that effect, Iran"s Ministry of Petroleum has been developing related projects in a bid to win a bigger share of global polymer and plastic markets. According to official data, Iran has brought the number of its polymer production plants from 4 in 2002 to 27 in 2018. Furthermore, Iran is close to launching 21 more polymer projects.
Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zangeneh said at Iran Plast that Iran"s petrochemical industry was making progress. He said that Iran Plast exhibition was an opportunity for Iranian and foreign companies to exchange views about broader cooperation in the future.
Noting that petrochemical plants were faced with no shortage of feedstock, Zangeneh said: "Petrochemical production in Iran has grown 7-8% year-on-year."
He said more ethane was to be supplied to petrochemical plants across Iran, adding: "We are also trying our best to boost our exports despite problems."
Owing to Iran"s relative advantages in the energy sector, polymer and plastic industry in Iran has seen a progressive trend over the past 17 years. In spite of all twists and turns in the polymer and plastic market, Iran"s products have attracted more buyers.
Marzieh Shahdaei, a senior Petroleum Ministry official, said sanctions would help strengthen domestic manufacturing.
"Furthermore, given the commissioning of different petrochemical projects, we are witnessing growth in the plastic industry and raw material supply. Therefore, companies active in this sector are boosted," said Shahdaei, a former CEO of National Petrochemical Company (NPC).
She referred to the development of Iran"s polymer market, saying: "In a bid to complete the value chain the petrochemical industry as fast as possible, we have to take steps towards applying modern technologies. Of course, those involved in this industry are making efforts towards such a goal."
Shahdaei highlighted the significance of Iran Plast, saying: "In the previous Iran Plast exhibitions, we received positive feedback. We hope to see the same after the end of the current one too."
Petrochemical Exports Grow
Reza Norouzzadeh, CEO of NPC, said Iran has been lifting its petrochemical exports.
He said Iran"s petrochemical exports grew 24% year-on-year during the first half of the current calendar year which started on March 21.
He added that there was no problem with petrochemical exports.
Norouzzadeh said Iran Plast provided a good chance for cooperation between producers and consumers.
"Since the start of Iran Plast in Iran, we have seen the number of participants grow. It shows the prosperity and progress of petrochemical industry," she said.
Polymer Products Up 10-Fold
Ali-Mohammad Bosaqzadeh, director of NPC projects, said Iran"s polymer production rate has increased 10-fold since 2002 when the first round of Iran Plast was held.
"The number of polymer production plants has reached 27 now, from 4 in 2002. It shows the significance of plastic industry, domestic and global demand, and growth in this industry," he said.
He said that production and consumption of polymer products was inevitable in Iran and elsewhere.
"Since the petroleum industry is intertwined with different sectors including car manufacturing, aviation and households, Iran Plast has always attracted visitors from various sectors," said Bosaqzadeh.
He said that metal has been eliminated from many household products to be replaced with plastic and petrochemical products.
"In the car manufacturing industry, we have tried to increase the plastic share due to its light weight and low costs. Therefore, we have seen plastic consumption grow in this industry," said Bosaqzadeh.
He said that Iran Plast was an event complying with global standards.
"Due to the rapid progress of technology in this industry and the diversity of needs related to plastic industry, this exhibition provides a good opportunity for the exchange of technical knowhow, supply and introduction of new products," said Bosaqzadeh.
Iran Planning for Market Development
Farnaz Alavi, director of planning at NPC, said Iran"s petrochemical industry has been widely present in international markets.
"We have managed to supply our products at a good quality. We expect to preserve the current standing of Iran"s petrochemical industry due to the volume of hydrocarbon reserves we hold. In the future, we expect a stronger presence in global markets," she said.
Referring to the private sector"s investment in this industry, Alavi said: "Due to the diversity of our products we may win more markets including in African and South American nations, and expand commercial chains."
She said that Iran Plast provided a venue for "the upstream sector (supplier) and the downstream sector (consumer) to stand together, discuss their needs and prepare the ground for better commercial ties."
"At this exhibition, with global actors present, we hope to be able to facilitate more interaction between consumers and producers, exchange experience and take advantage of potentialities in different sectors," said Alavi.
Value Chain Completion Target
Qodratollah Farajpour, director of production control at NPC, said: "In order to complete the value chain, appropriate measures have been undertaken and efforts are under way to that end."
"This international event is a good platform for cooperation, deepening communications between domestic actors of petrochemical industry and foreign participants. Undoubtedly, holding this exhibition regularly will be instrumental in the realization of these objectives," he said.
He said the motto chosen for this year"s Iran Plast - Plastic Industry Business Prosperity - highlighted the objective of the exhibition for business development through more cooperation.
Mehdi Sharifi Niknafs, CEO of Petrochemical Commercial Company, said petrochemical industry was the beating heart of Iran"s development.
"Like a locomotive, the petrochemical industry can be the driver of growth in other industries," he added.
He underlined the significance of Iran"s petrochemical industry due to exports, income generation and job creation.
Referring to the presence of domestic and foreign companies at Iran Plast, he said: "Given the diversity of petrochemical products, we expect petrochemical companies to cooperate more and be more integrated, in which case, long-term agreements would be signed between them."
Sharifi Niknaf said some foreign buyers of Iran"s petrochemical products were willing to sign long-term contracts.
"In long-term contracts, the buyer and the seller both will make gains. Therefore, we are expecting long-term contracts between domestic and foreign firms," he added.
The 12th edition of Iran Plast covered 30,000 square meters, 27,000 square meters of which allotted to 500 Iranian companies. A total of 165 foreign companies were present at Iran Plast.