Air Liquide in Iran Methanol-to-propylene Project
French industrial gases group Air Liquide has signed an agreement with Iran’s National Petrochemical Company (NPC) to build a 500,000 t/y methanol-to-propylene (MTP) plant. Talks between the two parties reportedly started after Iran signed a deal in 2015 to halt its nuclear program, and Western sanctions were removed.
The new plant will be owned and operated by NPC’s Petrochemical Research and Technology Company (PRTC) and built as part of phase II of the Pars Special Economic Energy Zone, which is close to abundant methanol supplies.
NPC’s managing director, Marziyeh Shahdaei told the Iranian news agency Shana that PRTC and Air Liquide’s Lurgi division will together own and license the MTP technology and perform basic engineering. The company’s technology arm is said to have developed its knowhow during the US-led sanctions. Meanwhile, it has built a pilot plant in Mahshahr. “The deal was the first one of its kind that Iran has struck with a foreign company,” Shahdaej said.
NPC had previously signed an agreement deal with Lurgi, while it was still an independent German company, to acquire MTP knowhow and the related licenses; however, it had to sever ties with Iran under the sanctions. After restrictions were removed, Lurgi returned to the country to seek opportunities for investment and cooperation as part of Air Liquide.
Since the end of sanctions, NPC has signed a number of agreements with energy and petrochemical majors, including French oil and gas giant Total, Shell and Germany’s Linde.