Iran Gasoline Imports Decline
EghtesadOnline: Gasoline imports reached 10 million liters per day on average since the beginning of the current fiscal in March, down almost 2 million liters from the previous fiscal, the National Iranian Oil Refining and Distribution Company (NIORDC) managing director said.
Denying claims about higher gasoline purchases from foreign companies in recent months, Abbas Kazemi said, “The fuel is imported via ships of different capacities. A 40-million liter cargo maybe unloaded one day and no shipment may arrive the next day. What matters is the average import volume,” IRNA reported on Tuesday.
Media outlets owned or affiliated to the political opponents of President Hassan Rouhani and his administration recently alleged that NIORDC had ramped up gasoline imports compared to the previous fiscal.
According to Kazemi, Iranians burned almost 74 million liters of gasoline daily in the previous fiscal. The government had to import 12 ml/d to meet the shortfall, Financial Tribune reported.
Asked about domestic gasoline production, Kazemi said, “Around 62 million liters of gasoline is produced in our refineries daily and 2 ml/d of methyl tert-butyl ether is added to the output to raise its octane number.” Higher octane levels indicate better quality in fuels.
Kazemi noted that average consumption of gasoline stands at 78 million liters per day so far this year. “The higher figure is due to the economic upturn after the lifting of international sanctions last year as well as the production of 1.3 million vehicles in fiscal 2015-16.”
Bandar Abbas Refinery in southern Hormozgan Province has stabilized production of Euro-4 quality gasoline at 4.5 million liters per day, Kazemi noted.
The NIORDC chief referred to the second development phase of the Persian Gulf Star Refinery which is set for launch in the third quarter of this year. “Iran will export gasoline after the launch of Star refinery’s second phase,” he said. Once in full swing, the refinery will produce 36 million liters per day of high-octane gasoline and 14 million ml/d of diesel, which will effectively cut gasoline imports and make way for exporting the product. The first phase, with capacity to produce 12 ml/d of Euro-4 gasoline came on stream last month.
Asked about rehabilitation of Abadan Oil Refinery in Khuzestan Province, he said, “Plans have been made to improve the refinery’s processing capacity and efficiency at an estimated cost of €2.7 billion ($2.87 billion) in Chinese funding.”
More than 40% of the refinery’s output is mazut which is barely worth one-third of crude oil.
“Following the launch of the Star refinery, we now have no issues in producing regular and high-octane gasoline. Almost 80 million liters of regular gasoline is in our inventories,” Kazemi said, noting that total gasoline in storage tanks amounts to 200 million liters.
Almost 120 million liters of premium gasoline, sold as ‘super’, has also been stored. Premium gasoline is sold in major cities such as Tehran, Isfahan, Shiraz, Tabriz and Mashhad.
Kazemi stressed that gasoline storage may fluctuate on a weekly or daily basis. “Sometimes storage is up, at times it is down. There is no cause for concern.”