Iran gasoline capacity to ‘keep growing’
Tehran, October 6, 2010
Iran is expanding one of its main refineries as part of a drive to rapidly increase gasoline production capacity, a refinery official said, as the country seeks to counter international sanctions.
"The production of gasoline will increase by 4 million litres (per day) over the next 14 days," Abdolreza Mehrban, managing director of the Abadan refinery, was quoted as saying by the semi-official Mehr news agency on Wednesday.
In September, Iran surprised the market with the announcement that it had achieved a 40 per cent increase in domestic gasoline production in an emergency plan after sanctions had stopped many companies from selling to the Islamic Republic.
It said it had even managed to export some gasoline, reversing the trend of being reliant on imports for up to 40 percent of its consumption. Traders have expressed scepticism over the sustainability of the increase.
Production at Abadan will increase to 20 million litres from 16 million litres at least partly by switching a petrochemical unit to gasoline production, Mehrban said.
Converting petrochemical plants to gasoline production has been the main way of boosting production in Iran -- the world's fifth-largest oil exporter but which has been forced to import due to a lack of sufficient refining capacity, an economic weak spot deliberately targeted by sanctions.
In July, Iran was still importing gasoline. Oil ministry website SHANA reported Iran's daily gasoline production was 45 million litres and its consumption 63 million litres, with the rest made up by imports.
An official said on Oct. 10 that Iran was producing 66.5 million litres per day and that this would be increased by 27 million litres within the next Iranian year.
US-led efforts to pressure Iran over its atomic programme led to tougher sanctions, which started to be introduced in June. Washington says it is determined to stop Iran making a nuclear bomb. Tehran says its nuclear ambitions are purely peaceful. – Reuters
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