Iran oil refining capacity 'increasing'
Tehran, April 27, 2010
Iran's oil refining capacity is increasing steadily and it is not concerned about possible sanctions on gasoline imports, a deputy oil minister was quoted as saying on Tuesday.
Despite being a major oil producer, Iran has to import 30-40 percent of its gasoline needs, making it vulnerable to possible sanctions which the United States and Israel want as a way to pressure Tehran over its nuclear programme.
Noureddin Shahnazizadeh, who is also head of the National Iranian Oil Refining and Distribution Company (NIORDC), told Mehr news agency Iran was not worried about sanctions.
"Gasoline sales sanctions will never happen," he said. The latest draft of UN sanctions being discussed by diplomats does not include measures that would directly block gasoline imports.
Shahnazizadeh said Iran's average production of gasoline over the last year was 44 million litres a day. Within two years, if Iran manages to complete planned refinery projects, capacity would increase by an additional 26 million litres a day, he said.
In the current year average capacity would increase to 52 million litres a day, if refinery projects at Abadan and Tehran go ahead as planned, he said.
He reaffirmed that Iran's gasoline reserves had increased by one billion litres over the last year. Iranian media reported in January that Iran had raised its stockpile of gasoline to 2.4 billion litres.
Oil Minister Massoud Mirkazemi said last Thursday the idea of sanctions on Iran's gasoline imports was "a joke" and that sanctions had encouraged Iran to improve its domestic sector rather than hurt its economy. - Reuters