Aromatics refer to the group of organic compounds including benzene and its derivatives. Aromatics are usually used in chemical industries, industrial resins and solvents. Globally, the three basic aromatic compounds including benzene, toluene and xylenes are produced on large industrial scale with a total volume of approximately 140 million metric tons in 2016. According to the recent report published by International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS), aromatics industry will have an optimistic future till 2020 because of the appearance of the new markets and technologies. The sharp decline in the production of pyrolysis and finally more dependency on benzene in United States can be pointed as an effective factor regarding increase in demand for one of the main aromatics which is benzene. The amounts of main aromatics’ production in 2016 are shown in the chart below:
In Iran, the major aromatics producers are: Isfahan Petrochemical Co., Bandar Imam Petrochemical Co., Bouali Sina Petrochemical Co. and Nouri petrochemical Co.
Nouri Petrochemical Company also known as Borzuya is the biggest global producer of Aromatics with the capacity of 4.5 million tons per year. The mentioned company was founded in 1998 in South Pars Special Economic Energy Zone. Nouri Company has been privatized by the Iranian government to Persian Gulf Petrochemical Industries Co.. Nouri produces p-Xylene, o-Xylene, benzene, raffinate, heavy aromatics, LPG, heavy hydrocarbons, pentane cut, light hydrocarbons mainly through condensate and pyrolysis gasoline as feedstocks which are provided from South Pars and Jam Petrochemical Co. . The nominal capacities of products are shown in the table below:
One of the strategic projects in Nouri Petrochemical Co. is heavy cutting sweetening project which will lead to higher quality through elimination of sulfur compounds from petroleum hydrocarbons. The capacity of the foresaid project is about 2 Million tons per year. In this regard, France has promised to transfer technical knowledge in Nouri petrochemical Co. and this was the first contract in aromatics industry with value of about 150 Million Euros in Iran. Nouri is going to run two downstream plans in Asaluyeh region and increase the profit margin through the completion of the value chain by implementing the mentioned development plan.
To sum up, France has been pioneered in signing different contracts in Iran’s petrochemical industry and there are still lots of opportunities available in this industry. It should be noted that, there are too many investment opportunities in Iran. As an example, according to the ICIS report, the process of increasing production of shale gas in United States will lead to replacing of gas with naphtha in the cycle of aromatic production in coming years. In this regard, the major producers of aromatics from naphtha in Iran like Buali Sina and Isfahan petrochemical companies can be more attractive for foreign investors because of their numerous advantages such as easy access to the feedstocks and also better condition for road transportations, besides bright future of aromatics market.