TBY talks to S.R. Sharif Mousavi, Managing Director of Marun Petrochemical Company.
TBY What sort of products does Marun Petrochemical offer to its clients?
S.R. SHARIF MOUSAVI It’s currently one of the biggest petrochemical companies in Iran. On an annual basis we produce 1.1 million tons of ethylene, 200,000 tons of propylene, 300,000 tons of high-density polyethylene (HDPE), 300,000 tons of polypropylene (PP), and 400,000 tons of monoethylene glycol (MEG). In addition to that we also have a 64% share in the Laleh Petrochemicals Company, which produces 300,000 tons of low density polyethylene (LDPE) per year. Since we have over a million tons in capacity, we are classified as a “mega olefin” company and have the second highest production capacity in Iran after Jam Petrochemical, which is actually the biggest in the world. Originally we were a state-owned company, though we were privatized about two years ago. Marun Petrochemical is now 100% privately owned.
What effect did privatization have on the Marun Petrochemical Company?
It’s been very good. Privatization is the norm throughout the developed world, and we believe that it is also a very positive development for Iran. Privatization has brought with it many advantages. For example, the decision-making process works a lot faster. It has also enabled us to branch out and become involved in new joint ventures, such as with Bushehr Petrochemical Company (BPC), which we started to construct recently. It will be a large complex that includes olefin, polymer, MEG, and methanol plants. In addition to that, we are also involved in a joint venture in Salman-e Farsi that produces propylene from propane dehydrogenation (PDH). We also have subsidiary plants that produce PP, HDPE, and MEG. We are also branching out and looking for foreign investors, be they from the East or West, so that we can get involved in bigger projects and investments in the future.
What do you think should be done to increase the production of petrochemicals in Iran?
Fortunately, the conditions are good in Iran for the development of the petrochemical industry. Iranians produce most of the equipment and make up most of the workforce in the olefin plants. We have the technology, we have the raw materials, the manufacturing equipment, the chemicals and catalysts, and we have the skilled workforce. There’s no reason why the petrochemical industry should not grow and expand.
Do you have a sufficient worldwide network of clients for your products?
Yes, we export to China, Europe, Turkey, India, Pakistan, and other nations. A lot of other industries have been seeking to invest in the petrochemical industry in Iran, as they realize its growth potential. We also have a lot of support from the banking sector. Credit is easily available.
How much of what you produce is exported?
Approximately 50%. We are also looking out for new markets, like in the Middle East and India, for example.
Do you encounter any challenges with exports?
We don’t encounter many problems because it’s a high-demand market that’s not at all saturated.
Who are your biggest competitors?
SABIC of Saudi Arabia is our main competition.
Are you also trying to attract foreign investments for your new ventures in Bushehr and Salman-e Farsi?
We are open to all offers, and our evaluation criteria change according to the market. But yes, we are looking for foreign investors. However, Marun has a high capability and will go ahead with these projects with or without foreign investment. We also have local investment offers, mainly from banks. And in Bushehr we have a joint venture with SATA, the Armed Forces Pension Fund.
To what extent do you see your production capacity increasing as the new projects in Bushehr and Salman-e Farsi are completed?
Our joint venture in Bushehr will produce another 1 million tons of olefin. As for Salman-e Farsi, it will only produce propylene.
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