EghtesadOnline: In the first five months of the current fiscal year (started May 20), more than $1 billion worth of gasoline was exported, head of the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration said.
“Total foreign trade in the first five months was about 52 million tons worth $24.6 billion, of which 38 million tons worth $10.6 billion were exports and 14 million tons worth $14 billion were imports,” Mehr News Agency quoted Mehdi Mirasharfi as saying.
Gasoline comprised 10% of the total export in the period and was made possible by the decline in domestic consumption and increase in production, he added.
Gasoline export is being promoted to manage the expanding inventory of the fuel, which is a result of the slump in domestic demand caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Like most countries hit by the plague, gasoline demand in Iran has plunged as people avoid travel and family and social gatherings to help fight the highly contagious disease. Iran so far has registered over 360,000 coronavirus cases and 21,000 deaths.
Iran has been exporting gasoline in recent months despite the US sanctions. Industry data show Tehran has not only managed to continue exports, but also has boosted exports three-fold.
Data from consultancy FGE put total gasoline exports in March-July at 173,000 barrels per day on average, up from around 30,000 bpd in January-February. Most of the gasoline exports are destined for Pakistan and Iraq.
Iran became a gasoline exporter in February 2019 after inauguration of the Persian Gulf Star Refinery. Domestic gasoline production is 692,000 bpd or 115 million liters a day.
Daily gasoline consumption is now between 410,000-440,000 barrels (65 to 70 million liters per day), that is down 15% from June, when there was a brief recovery following an easing of lockdown measures.
Demand plummeted between March 15 and April 15 to less than 35 million liters per day due to the virus leading to bulging gasoline inventories unseen in the past century.
Processing capacity of Persian Gulf Star Refinery is scheduled to reach 480,000 barrels per day by the end of September.
Currently, an average of 45 million liters of gasoline and 17 million liters of diesel are produced daily in the refinery. Gasoline and diesel output will increase to about 54 and 20 million liters per day, respectively.
The refinery uses gas condensates from the offshore South Pars Gas Field has been pivotal in eliminating the need for costly gasoline imports. Authorities have moved 770,000 barrels of oil out of storage tanks to make room for gasoline. The crude was moved from oil terminals in northern Neka Port to the Tehran Oil Refinery.