1st Exclusive interview with Managing Director of JPC
Eng. Seyedhossein Mir Afzali, Managing Director of had JPC previously worked on various areas including upstream petroleum industries in land and sea, supervising drilling of Tabnak gas wells though cooperation with CNPC of China, senior supervisor of marine drilling operation of Miran Salman, working in the Ministry of Industry, Mine and Trade, a member of board of directors at different companies including Sarcheshmeh Copper Investment Co. and Arvandan Co.. Moreover, he has actively worked in Tamin Transportation Co. working on sea transport area.
Moreover, he has previously been the director of Khorasan Petrochemical Co., and among his honors are increasing production of urea, ammonia and melanin. Under his management and efforts of its employees, Khorasan Petrochemical Co. succeeded to break 107% record in nominal production. Also, defining the project started by Dr. Rohani has been among big GTPP plans managed by him. Currently this plan is followed up to be executed by management team and experts of the company.
Over 2.1 billion dollars is the estimated value of this project producing methanol from methane and polypropylene from methanol. This project is considered as a national and economic project, bringing about a huge number of employment opportunities in North Khorasan Province. Considering valuable activities of Eng. Mir Afzali in different time periods and developmental activities as well as organizational improvement in the production arena and eliminating production hindrances, a set of shareholders appointed Eng. Seyedhossein Mir Afzali as the Managing Director of Jam Petrochemical Co. Also, he is a member of Board of Directors of Khorasan Petrochemical Company. In the first exclusive interview with Eng. Mir Afzali, we became more familiar with his views on gas, petroleum and petrochemistry:
1- Eng. Mir Afzali, what do you think of stubs of Iran in the petroleum and gas industry of the world?
Fortunately, Iran holds the biggest gas reservoir in the world and in total, petroleum and gas reservoirs of Iran have the 1st rank in the world and having such status requires meticulous and serious planning to exploit such resources. In comparison, we are short of water in traditional agriculture section and using traditional techniques is of no help to working in this area and such circumstances require fundamental solutions but competitive advantage of Iran is more in the gas and petroleum industries and related industries, which are numerous and of great variety, and bring so many job opportunities to the society. Among significant qualities of petroleum and gas industries is huge technical knowledge within them, our experts have achieved brilliant progress in this area and undoubtedly, the more developed this industry, the more heightened our knowledge would be. Luckily our knowledge is so deep that if we manage to reach a high status in petroleum and gas industries as our modern industries, then we can gain a higher status in all industries as well.
2- In your opinion, is the petroleum industry in Iran in its intended status?
China has no standard oilfields, extracts gas from coal and consumes the produced gas of higher price in petrochemistry but has made some progress in petrochemical industry and now, this country produces 15 times more urea and ammonia than that of Iran, for producing urea fertilizer. Whenever preparing technical and economic studies or FS is the goal towards investment in an industry, main discussion would be intended markets. Therefore, those investors investing faster will gain more share of the market. FS and studies of the market, affect next companies as well. For example, if we intend to establish an ammonia urea producing company, it should be determined that whether there is any factory producing such production or whether there is any market for such productions? Currently, China intends to establish 17 olefin factories but before China, Iran should establish such factories producing different types of grades since Iran is able to produce special grade olefin on universal level. The fact is that Iranian petrochemical companies should cooperate with foreign inventories in order to produce basic olefin products including PE, PP and other products on universal scale fit to export. It is hoped that one day 20 to 30 million tons of PE, PP and other petrochemical products of new grades are produced in Iran and setting such goals will lead us to such achievement. He added: we want to use efforts of experts and produce new grades on national level and through that provide job opportunities and added value for the country.
3- Why is Jam Petrochemical Company different from other Petrochemical companies?
Among unique characteristics of JPC compared to other companies in Asaluyeh are its high level of technical knowledge and experience. Moreover, this company uses concurrent gas and liquid feeding. However, there should be some planning as to development and progress towards more various grades as our main goal. It is hoped that through careful planning and goal setting, our objectives are fulfilled.
4- Tell us about plans and projects of Jam Petrochemical Co. What would your approach be during tenure?
Among developmental plans in JPC are studies on Ethane recovery and downstream industries, accelerating progress of RUBBER and ABS projects as well as producing different types of compounds during the next years. It is hoped that through implementation of such plans, the company brightens ever more as the gem to the ring of petrochemical Industry of Iran.
5- What do you think about prices of feeds for petrochemical units?
Currently, feed price for petrochemical companies is higher than the universal prices. But, unfortunately, there is wrong information spreading in this regard and every now and then, some media give wrong information in this regard. It is said that petrochemical companies receive economic rent but this is not true and acts against development of this industry. It is worth mentioning that annual methane production of Iran is 200 billion square meters, 6 billion square meters of which is consumed as the feed for petrochemical companies and thus is about 3 percent of the whole gas production of Iran. This gas is sold to petrochemical companies for 13 cents, while the universal price for such gas is 10 cents. Unfortunately, in some industries and power plants receiving cheap gas, and in homes as well as trade centers consuming cheap gas, about 30 percent of the gas (about 1 fifth of the gas delivered to petrochemical companies as the feed) is wasted. Such waste is over 50 billion square meters per year.
It is to be noted that in order to prevent waste of gas, media has started large scale training in gas saving for all groups of society, especially school pupils. Wearing summer clothing in cold winters inside house is a symbol of lavish culture. In which one of the developed countries, such culture is followed? Solving this cultural issue requires promoting culture by all media.
Another fact is that the whole ethane consumed in petrochemical companies in 2015 is about 4 million tonnes and its universal price is about 180 dollars. But ethane is delivered to petrochemical companies for 245 dollars. If petrochemical companies were not there, this gas along with methane would be consumed in houses and trade centers for 2 to 3 cents. Moreover, in the peak of sanctions, petrochemical companies played a significant role in controlling currency price and preventing crisis. It is hoped that feeds are priced reasonably. There should be a more positive view of investments which bring about more productivity and job opportunities. Moreover, laws should be enforced properly and taken care of, disregarding personal interests; and major interests of the country are not to be sacrificed under the influence of media and rumors made against investment.
6- What is the most important problem hindering development of downstream petrochemical industries?
Among the most important problems haunting petrochemical industry is funding, providing equipment and parts and licensor which currently takes a lot of energy and definitely will decelerate our progress towards development. But after lifting of sanctions, we could see petrochemical industry progress; we would be able to procure equipment, parts, and new technologies and can make connections with foreign partners. It is to be emphasized that in new investments, welcoming foreign partners should be one of our goals as after that, intended market shall be guaranteed and more investment security shall be gained. Private sector should be encouraged to conduct more studies in petrochemical industry on downstream clusters of petrochemical industry. We must be ready to cooperate with private sector companies through joint investments and give partners the hope that before factory reaches profit and stability, the whole shares shall be listed on the stock exchange to welcome investors and spread the hope that finally, we will invest in a new company and in fact shall act as a driving force making new industrial clusters on highly valued areas.
7- What are the effects of petrochemical industry development and universal communication and the role of Iran in international economy?
It is to be reminded that international economy is interwoven and such status has made countries get closer. If industries are able to fulfill needs of foreign companies, they shall become dependent on us and such dependence will affect political and international relations of countries. Considering the importance of iron in petrochemical industry, the more developed the petrochemical industry is, the better would be the status of Iran in universal bargaining and international communications. Also, Iran will acquire a higher status on an international level with a stronger bargaining power. This is a huge immaterial value in addition to economic revenues which have been neglected before. And, in the long run, it would be of no less value than that of foreign currency deposits and domestic currency revenues for national interest of Iran.