Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Iran Aims for Gasoline Self-Sufficiency With Upgrades


By Anthony DiPaola

May 31 (Bloomberg) -- Iran aims to be self-sufficient in gasoline production within two years when it completes $11.4 billion in upgrades to its existing refineries, the country’s deputy petroleum minister said at conference in Bahrain.

Seven new refineries planned in Iran, partly to process heavy crude, will also help to more than quadruple the amount of gasoline and almost double the amount of gasoil the country produces, Shahnazi Zadeh, who is also president of the National Iranian Oil Refining and Distribution Co., said today.

“With the new refineries we will have finished products to export,” Zadeh told reporters after a speech at the Heavy Oil World MENA 2010 conference in Bahrain.

The second-largest producer in the 12-member Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, Iran imports refined products such as gasoline because it lacks output capacity. The U.S. administration of President Barack Obama may impose sanctions against the sale of the fuel to Iran to put pressure on it to stop developing a nuclear weapons program.

The seven planned refineries will need investments of $27 billion, Zadeh said. The government will provide 20 percent and expects to find private investors domestically and abroad for the remainder, he said.

Two of the refineries will process heavy crude. The market to export heavy crude and extra heavy crude is weak since buyers aren’t offering prices that Iran considers high enough, Zadeh said. The country aims to use more of those oil grades domestically and reduce production of heavier refined products like fuel oil, he said.

--Editors: Jonas Bergman, John Buckley

To contact the reporter on this story: Anthony DiPaola in Bahrain at adipaola@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephen Voss on sev@bloomberg.net

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