17 December 2023 - 21:51
  • News ID: 634644
CIS potential market for Iran catalysts

Iran’s petrochemical catalyst export has grown significantly over the past two years. Petrochemical Research and Technology Company (PRTC), currently accounting for 30% of Iran’s petroleum industry catalyst, has announced that the technical know-how for 97% of the catalyst is now homegrown. Majid Daftari, the CEO of PRTC, tells “Iran Petroleum” that Iran would be able to export 1,000 tonnes of catalysts a year, noting that CIS and South American nations would be among the major buyers.

The following is the full text of Iran Petroleum’s interview with Daftari.

How do you evaluate PRTC’s performance during the first two years in office of the 13th administration?

Under the 13th administration, in the light of special attention paid to PRTC by the minister of petroleum and deputy minister of petroleum for petrochemical affairs, it has embarked on extensive activities in the field of processing, catalyst, and chemicals’ technologies and has made good achievements. We have managed to commercialize our products in many fields. Over the past two years, we have been recognized as the world’s largest licensor.

On what basis?

In terms of the number of processing and catalytic technical know-how presented by PRTC, the company is among the world’s top petrochemical industry licensors. Currently, PRTC is the proprietor of technical know-how for 19 processes and chemicals, 16 of which have been licensed to applicants. The key technical know-how pertains to methanol, polyethylene, polypropylene, methanol-to-propylene, ammonia, vinyl acetate monomer (VAM), and ethylene propylene diene terpolymer (EPDM). Most proprietors of this know-how receive catalysts from other companies, but PRTC has both together. Furthermore, 24 catalysts and initiators of the petroleum industry have been developed with PRTC technical know-how, for which commercialization agreements have been struck. Rarely can a company have the technical know-how for this number of catalysts in the world.

Has access to all these processes been facilitated by the 13th administration?

On average, achieving know-how in the petrochemical industry takes 16 years, which may even be extended to 20 or 30 years. We’ve been pursuing this process ever since the company was established in 2013. Currently, every technological need from lab studies to bench, demo plant, pilot, and commercialization is available here. The 13th administration has bolstered self-belief in private companies and holdings. Rather than wasting time on foreign licensors, the 13th administration decided to benefit from PRTC’s potential to accelerate the projects, which was of great help in the nationalization of processes. Meantime, special attention has been paid to the domestic manufacturing of equipment. We manufactured the bulk of equipment foreign licensors imposed heavy prices upon. That was instrumental in job creation and currency saving.

How many technical know-how licenses have been granted by PRTC?

We have obtained 270 technical know-how licenses in the petrochemical industry, 40 of which may be granted.

Which companies have been granted processing know-how over the past two years?

Over this time, a high-density polyethylene (HDPE) license has been granted to the Bushehr and Tabriz petrochemical plants, allowing them to reach an agreement with EPC companies for the application of these licenses. In the current calendar year, an agreement has been signed with the Maroun Petrochemical Plant for HDPE and linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) gas phase, for which engineering documents are being prepared. Furthermore, the “Eslamabad Gharb” project will involve converting methanol to propylene and subsequently to polypropylene, using PRTC technical savvy. The Lorch mega methanol project is also using our technical know-how. There are other finalized projects, for which effective agreements are yet to be signed. One case in point is the 500,000-tonne PVM project of Setareh Parsian, 2 HDPE units of the Kian complex, 2 polypropylene projects with the Persian Gulf Bidboland refinery, and 2 polypropylene and methanol-to-propylene agreements with Petrokymia Qeshm. The number of our agreements with petrochemical companies is rising.

What about catalysts?

The catalyst document was updated and unveiled last calendar year. Of the total petroleum industry catalysts, 14 remained to be nationalized. Ten were developed on a lab scale and we’re currently signing agreements with 6 prestigious universities and the Research Institute of Petroleum Industry (RIPI) to acquire technical know-how for four more and update 2 catalysts. We have promised the minister of petroleum to develop all catalysts, absorbents, and additives of the petroleum industry before the 13th administration reaches the end of its term in office. I should also note that PRTC’s objective and strategy is to focus on the manufacturing of four remaining catalysts which are uneconomical due to low consumption to achieve their technical know-how to be used if they would be needed one day.

What percentage of petroleum industry catalysts is technically built with PRTC know-how?

About 30% of catalysts used in the petroleum industry use our license and 85% of them are being produced in the country. There is technical know-how for 92-93% of them. In terms of weight and price, the technical savvy of 97% of catalysts in the country has been acquired.

How much catalyst is Iran exporting per annum?

More than 1,000 tonnes a year.

Are there any mechanisms to compare the quality of PRTC catalysts with those of foreign rivals?

Each know-how has its standard with the best way of assessment being to compare their performance and mechanical specifications. Therefore, we compare our products with foreign prototypes in terms of performance. Normally, PRTC and RIPI serve as reference bodies in catalyst purchases in the country by doing performance tests on foreign catalysts.

What is PRTC’s policy vis-à-vis foreign markets?

PRTC is not a manufacturing company. It develops technical know-how to be supplied to local companies, which would in turn sell its products internally or externally. For instance, numerous local companies have exported the catalysts developed with PRTC technology to neighboring countries.

How has the 13th administration’s energy diplomacy affected your foreign cooperation?

Several countries including CIS and South American nations have asked for our catalyst know-how, but our catalyst producers are not willing to transfer their know-how but they prefer to sell their products. Some CIS nations have formally applied for our catalyst technical know-how to start production in their plants, for which talks have been held. We’re currently reviewing markets in the CIS area, after which we will decide to grant them a license or sell them products. Moreover, following their visit to PRTC, some South American countries showed a willingness to cooperate with us in catalyst production. Talks are set to be held on that topic.

Does PRTC have any joint cooperation with foreign countries to access technical savvy?

PRTC has long had cooperation in the process of methanol-to-propylene with Germany’s Lorgi of Basel; however, sanctions have brought everything down to a minimum. However, talks are set to be held with East Asian and North African nations for cooperation.

What program does PRTC have for value chain completion and what steps has it taken to that end?

We have embarked on almost all of the value chain operations mandated by the National Petrochemical Company (NPC). First, technical, economic, and research studies started by our company or a peer company, 17-18 of which have led to agreement. We don’t believe that we should always start from scratch. We can benefit from the experience of other countries and develop their technology.

How many cases of technical know-how do you plan to master?

We have started 14-15 cases. NPC has instructed us to master 26-27 cases.

How many of them do you think would be complete by the end of the 13th administration’s term in office?

Three to four are estimated to have been finalized by then.

How many cases of PRTC know-how have been commercialized?

PRTC has acquired 19 cases of technical know-how in chemical materials and processing, 16 of which have received licenses. PRTC has also managed to acquire 24 cases, 15 of which have been licensed.

How much are the 13th administration’s agreements valued at?

The agreements total €11 million, while the agreements for presenting licenses amount to €1.5 million a year.

News ID 634644


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