YEREVAN, April 1. / ARKA /. Vazgen Safaryan, the chairman of the Union of Domestic Commodity Producers, said today Nairit chemical plant in Yerevan could use Iranian gas to resume production of chloroprene rubber.
Speaking at a news conference he said the Union had sent a letter with this proposal to the Iranian ambassador in Armenia and is now waiting for his answer.
He said part of rubber could be shipped to Iran in return for the gas and the rest could be sold to other countries.
Armenia and Iran have a gas pipeline commissioned in 2007. It is used to transport Iranian gas to Armenia where it is converted into electricity for export to Iran. In return for one cubic meter of gas Armenia exports 3 kWh of electricity. Under the agreement Iran is to supply 36 billion cubic meters of gas in 20 years. The agreement can be prolonged by another five years.
"According to rough estimates, Russia's annual demand for chloroprene rubber is about 20,000 tons. Armenian can produce about 15,000 tons of rubber annually and sell it to Russia, China, Kazakhstan and other countries," he said.
Nairit was the only plant in the Soviet Union to produce chloroprene rubber. It was closed in 1989 for environmental reasons and resumed operation partially in 1992. In 2006, 90% of Nairit’s shares were sold to British Rainoville Property Limited for $40 million.
The remaining 10% belong to the Armenian government. In April 2010 the plant stopped production of rubber. Before the halt, the plant sold its products to EU countries, Russia (about 30% of exports), the United States and 20 other countries.
In late 2013 December Russian Rosneft, Pirelli Tyre Russia and Rosneft- Armenia signed in Yerevan a memorandum of understanding to establish a joint venture for production of butadiene- styrene rubber. Later prime minister Tigran Sargsyan said Rosneft could invest $400 million in construction of a new rubber plant in Armenia. -0-