Turkey, Egypt agree to Iran’s proposal on OPEC-style petrochemical body (UPDATE)

By Sara Rajabova

Turkey and Egypt have agreed with Iran's proposal to form an international petrochemical association similar to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

"On the sidelines of the petrochemical conference of the D8 group of countries, Turkey and Egypt, as the two biggest producers of petrochemical products and engineering polymers in the Middle East, agreed to Iran's oil proposals," National Iranian Petrochemical Organization (NIPO) Managing Director Abdolhossein Bayat said, Press TV reported.

Negotiations will start with several other petroleum producing Islamic countries in the near future to discuss mechanism for establishing an international petrochemical association as well as preparing a charter for it, he noted.

"Currently with the presence of Iran, Turkey and Egypt the core of a petrochemical OPEC has been formed," he added.

Qatar and Saudi Arabia can participate in the negotiations as well, Bayat said.

In November 2012, Bayat said, "The formation of the Petrochemical Exporting Countries Forum (PECF) will bring a new order to the market of petrochemical products and create coordination among exporters."

Iran, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Russia, Qatar, and Turkey are potential members of PECF which will concentrate on financial and technological cooperation among members, as well as product pricing and policy making on production issues, he added.

The petrochemical conference of the D8 countries was held in Tehran on May 20 concurrent with Iran's 10th International Petrochemical Industry Conference.

The D8 is a group of developing countries with large Muslim population that have formed an economic development alliance. It consists of Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Turkey.

On May 19, Director for Planning and Development at the National Petrochemical Company (NPC), Ramezan Oladi, said Iran currently accounts for about a quarter of the Middle East's petrochemical products.

Oladi said that Iran has a roughly 25-percent-share of the petrochemicals in the Middle East, and is planning to increase it to 38 percent by 2015.

Iran reaped $12 billion from exporting petrochemicals in the last Iranian calendar year which ended on March 20, 2013.

Nearly 60 countries, mainly from South and Southeast Asia, imported Iran's petrochemical products in the previous Iranian calendar year.

Iran has significantly expanded the range and volume of its petrochemical production over the past few years, and the NPC has become the second largest producer and exporter of petrochemicals in the Middle East after Saudi Arabia.