The cornerstone of petrochemical industry in Iran was laid in late 1950s. Owing to the size of the domestic market and the availability of huge hydrocarbon reserves, the industry saw rapid development and
expansion in the ensuing years.
Since its inception, the industry has travelled a long and challenging road from its humble origins to become a major force in global petrochemical markets. The journey is however far from complete as NPC’s next goal is to plan for further growth of Iran’s current capacities and help build new generation of facilities based on the country’s immense gas feedstock.
The genesis of petrochemical industry in Iran dates back to 1958 when the Fertilizer Authority was established as part of Ministry of Economic Affairs and Finance. In 1964, the National Petrochemical Company (NPC) was set up to plan for the development of the industry.
In the same year, the first Iranian Petrochemical plant, Shiraz Petrochemical Company which was a fertilizer facility, cameonstream. In 1965, the Petrochemical Industries Development Act was ratified by Iran’s parliament allowing NPC to directly enter into partnerships with local and foreign companies for producing petrochemical products.
Since its inception in early 1960s until the advent of the Islamic Revolution in 1979, NPC constructed several petrochemical facilities including Shiraz, Razi, Abadan, Kharg, Farabi, Carbon Iran and Polika producing 1.6 million t/y of products. During this period, expansion projects of Shiraz and Razi were kicked off. Construction work also began on ex-Iran-Japan, currently Bandar Imam Petrochemical Company.
After the victory of the Islamic Revolution in 1979, fresh efforts were made to further develop the industry but they were rendered ineffective when Iraq invaded Iran in 1980 and waged a war that continued for the next 8 years.
The war badly affected the country’s entire economy and the petrochemical sector was not an exception. It brought investment to a halt and crippled many of the petrochemical facilities. Output plummeted to an all time low of 880,000 tons in 1988. The industry, however, quickly rose from the ashes and grew even stronger after the war ended in 1988.
Soon after the war ended, NPC unveiled its first 5-year development plan (1989-1994) whose prime focus was to rebuild and to repair the plants that were damaged. NPC’s secondary goal was to construct several grassroots facilities which included Razi’s DAP, Shiraz methanol, Isfahan aromatics, 1st phase of Arak complex, expansion of Ahvaz carbon black and Bandar Imam. At the end of the final year of the plan, NPC’s output capacity reached 10.3 million t/y.