Iran sits atop the second-largest oil and gas reserves globally. As in much of the oil-rich Middle East, the government there has decided to use its crude oil strength to help advance its stake in the petrochemical industry. According to plastics pricing service ChemOrbis, one indication of this at present are the numerous and relatively low-cost Iranian PE offers this month in Italy, Turkey, China and Egypt.
U.S. companies are banned from working with Iranian firms due to the country's nuclear program, and the ban has had some impact on the country's ability to export as some U.S. allies also have toed the line. But Iranian oil company officials say the ban has had little effect on their relations with companies and governments in Europe and Asia. According to an article this week from the Fars News Agency, several European energy companies are keen to invest in the ninth line of Iran's national gas pipeline.
Iranian companies are making their presence felt more in the world's plastics markets, reports ChemOrbis. For instance, in Italy market players reported done deals for Iranian HDPE and LDPE materials last week as Italian buyers attempt to keep their costs down in the face of earlier price hike announcements from European producers. Iranian offers have shown up for the past three weeks at the bottom of the local ranges and have seen interest from buyers. There is up to a €110/ton difference between the high end of the Iranian LDPE price range and the high end of the West European LDPE price range, according to ChemOrbis....