With 27% of Middle East’s total production, Iran is the region’s second largest producer of petrochemicals, after Saudi Arabia. Qatar with 9% and Kuwait and Oman (each by 5%) are third and fourth largest producers of petrochemicals in the Middle East, as per IRIB. Estimates show that with the commissioning of development plans and projects in the Persian Gulf by 2015, nominal production capacity of petrochemicals in this region will increase by 46% to reach 155 mln tpa, which is 20% of the global output. In regions including North America, Europe and South America, production of petrochemicals is projected to fall by 5%, 3% and 1% respectively; sliding from 25 to 20%, 23% to 20% and 4% to 3% of the total global output in 2015. Meanwhile, production in Asian countries is predicted to rise by 5% from 31% to 36%, while production in African countries will remain unchanged at 1% in 2015. It is predicted that the combination of products in the Middle East region will remain unchanged. The products include 37% of base materials, 28% of fertilizers, 20% of polymers and 15% of intermediary products.
Last year, Islamic Republic of Iran produced 40 mln tons of petrochemicals, exporting over 16 mln tons of it. In December 2010, the Oil Ministry reported a 35% increase in Iran's petrochemical production in the period between March 21 and October 22. Iran sold about 14.13 million tons of petrochemical products during the period. Iran's petrochemical exports to China exceeded US$1.65 bln in the current Iranian calendar year from an average of US$482 mln in recent years. By the end of March 2011, the value of Iran's petrochemical exports to China reached US$2 bln. Iran is currently trying to increase petrochemical exports by targeting new markets in Africa, Latin America, and China.
About 65 new petrochemical projects with an annual production capacity of 66 mln tons are expected to come on stream during the Fifth Five-Year Economic Development Plan (2010-15).