Iran Wants In On Petrochemical Plant In Philippines

MANILA, Philippines (AP) - Iran will invest $100 million in a petrochemical plant in the northern Philippine province of Bataan, Tehran's envoy to Manila said Wednesday.

Ambassador Jalal Kalantari told reporters the petrochemical plant will produce 275,000 tons of high density polyethelene annually for export to Iran and Southeast Asian countries, and then increase to 400,000 tons in five years.

Polyethelene is used in the mining, agriculture, marine, chemical storage and food industries.

Kalantari did not mention the value of the production or when the operation will start, but said Iranian experts recently finalized the overhaul of the polyethelene plant at the Bataan Petrochemical Complex, a 1,309-acre government-owned industrial park at the famous World War II battleground, about 50 miles west of Manila.

He said two-way trade was valued at $1.03 billion in 2005 in favor of Iran due to the large oil imports by the Phililippines, which amounted to $995 million last year.

He said Iran was seeking Philippine expertise on building geothermal power plants, which the Philippines use extensively for producing electricity.

The Iranian government is also seeking expert advise from the Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC) in building geothermal plants, he said.

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