“Our market for methanol exports is guaranteed and we have no worries about exporting this product,” he told a news conference, Fars news agency reported.
His remarks came a week after Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri said Iran is still selling its oil despite the sanctions and that Washington’s “maximum pressure” on Tehran has failed.
The assertion countered US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s claim that the sanctions on Tehran had been “incredibly effective”, resulting in a decrease in Iran’s wealth and diminished ability to trade with the rest of the world.
The United States has pledged to squeeze Iran’s oil exports – the country’s main source of revenue – to a trickle, but Jahangiri stated that the plan has failed.
China, which has major methanol-to-olefins capacities, is the key target market for Iranian supplies. Its top five importers account for 60% of Iranian methanol supplies to China.
India was another major buyer of the Iranian methanol before the United States targeted Iran’s oil, petrochemical, steel, cement and automotive industry with sanctions last year. Iranian methanol shipments also went to Europe, with Italy accounting for the bulk of imports.
According to Qasami, Iran currently produces 8.3 million tonnes of methanol a year, 300,000 tonnes of which is consumed domestically and the remaining 8 million tonnes is exported.
The US has special interest in trying to curb Iran’s methanol exports. Washington has been working to more than triple its capacities and shift from an importer to an exporter, with Europe and Asia within its sights.
Iran opens $1.85 billion worth of petrochemical projectsPresident Hassan Rouhani attends the opening of three projects about to add 3.4 million metric tons per year to Iran
Iran, Russia and the US are expected to drive the global methanol industry growth from planned and announced plants between 2019 and 2030, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.
Together these three countries will contribute around 64% of the total global methanol capacity additions. Iran is set to have the largest capacity additions of 36.71 million tonnes per annum by 2030.
Kaveh Methanol in southern Bushehr province, with a capacity of 2 million tonnes per year, is Iran’s largest.
Methanol is used in a variety of applications, such as gasoline additive MBTE production, clean fuel or polymer production.
Iran produces methanol from methane, which makes it a green fuel, cheaper and more abundant than diesel.
By comparison, China produces 80 percent of its 60 million tonnes per year of methanol from coal, which is extremely polluting.