“Asia is the center of gravity for oil and all the incremental demand will come from Asia. We are expecting to ship more than 50% of our products to Asia,” said CEO of Siraf Refineries Infrastructure Company Alireza Sadeghabadi in an interview with Platts on the sidelines of the 19th Annual Condensate and Naphtha Forum.

He was referring to Iran’s ambitious $2.8b Siraf refineries project, which will process as much as 480,000 b/d of condensates, earmarked for 2018.

The project includes eight private refineries and will have the capacity to produce about 270,000 b/d of naphtha, 140,000 b/d of gasoil, 30,000 b/d of LPG and 40,000 b/d of kerosene when fully operational.

“Early production will start in 2018, but final production and trading will take place in 2019,” he said, adding that site preparation has nearly been completed for the project.

According to Press TV Iran expects to ship more than 50% of the products to Asia.

“We are seeing strong interest from China, South Korea and Japan, Taiwan for participation — either to take equity in the project or buy the products from us,” Sadeqabadi also said.

“Plastics consumption is directly related to economic growth and we are expecting strong demand for naphtha from those countries which are expected to witness strong economic growth in Asia,” he added.

He also revealed that European companies were also interested, although only as investors, not buyers.

“We will choose from among eight western European companies that want to be involved,” he said, without naming names.