Iran has produced a new strategic and rare gas product called pentane, as the first country in the MENA region, having developed the new technology, Iranian Offshore Oil Company (IOOC) announced according to the Fars News Agency.

Pentane has a wide range of applications in chemical and petrochemical industries. Its price is higher than that of crude oil, the Siri NGL Refinery’s Deputy Director, Mohammad Reza Safari-Rad, said: “Each barrel of the newly produced organic compound, derived from the natural gas, is worth as much as several barrels of crude.” Safari-Rad also stated that achieving the new breakthrough can help Iran gain an upper hand in the market over those who are not willing to see Iran restore its market share. Tehran has thus overtaken gas major exporters such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia that had not produced a scarce form of natural gas condensate, the Mehr News Agency wrote.

The Siri NGL refinery producing the new gas condensate has a capacity of 300b/d of pentane. Until now, some 50,000 barrels of pentane have been produced since the refinery came online in 2013, according to Safari-Rad quoted by the Financial Tribune. He added that “naphtha, pentane, butane, and propane are the four major products” of the refinery. Its total exports amount to 280,000 barrels of naphtha and 106,000 barrels of butane, bringing in around $22.2m to the country annually.