Between the ongoing oil export sanctions saga and the state-led expansion of the supergiant 24.7bn cfd South Pars gas project (MEES, 17 April), Iran’s upstream attracts the overwhelming majority of the attention paid to the country’s critical energy sector.

But Iran’s petrochemical industry is quietly undergoing a substantial expansion, bringing its exports and production capacity to new heights. Over the last decade, Tehran has managed to expand petchems production from 34.2mn t/y to 56.2mn t/y for the last Iranian year (March 2019-March 2020). Of this a record 23.1mn t/y was exported (see chart). 2019-20 petchems sales brought in a hefty $14.5bn of which $9.5bn was from exports, crucially offsetting some of the losses due to sanctions – though not nearly enough to replace Iran’s 2mn b/d+ of pre-sanctions crude exports (MEES, 10 July). (CONTINUED - 873 WORDS)