TEHRAN (Dispatches) - Iran has been pushing to step up exports of petrochemicals and tap new markets to compensate for sliding oil sales, Iranian and international industry sources said.
Tehran has been selling increased volumes of petrochemical products in countries including Brazil, China and India.
Available ship-tracking data also points to a rise in monthly shipments since then.
At least 230,000 tonnes of urea had already been booked for Brazil in recent weeks, which included two shipments for chemical company Eleva Química Ltda, based in Brazil’s southern Santa Catarina state.
This week Iranian media quoted Ahmad Sarami, a member of the Iranian Oil, Gas and Petrochemical Products Exporters’ Union, as saying Tehran received $11 billion from petrochemical exports in the year ending in March.
In a sign of the shifting industry landscape, the Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said in Tehran in April that Iran should move toward the sale of oil products such as petrochemicals instead of crude.
Iranian authorities, who do not recognize U.S. sanctions, dismissed the latest restrictions and vowed to press on with petrochemical exports. Sarami of the exporters’ union described the American measures as "psychological warfare”.
A spokesman for Iran’s National Petroleum Company confirmed the ramp-up of petrochemical exports since November, but declined to comment on the destinations.
China and India are Iran’s established markets for petrochemical products. Neighboring Pakistan is reportedly a new customer and received some overland deliveries.
Since the start of the year, at least 10 cargoes of methanol have been shipped to China from Iran, while multiple shipments have been made to India, including several cargoes of ammonia.
Petrochemical exports are a crucial boon to Iran’s derive to weather draconian US sanctions which mainly aim to dry up the Islamic Republic’s oil exports.
Iranian officials say the wide diversity of petrochemical products and huge international demand for them because of their quality and price make the industry unsanctionable