Iran reports major drop in gasoline imports


Iran has reported a major plunge in its imports of gasoline in a move that many believe could strengthen the country against the upcoming US sanctions.

Mohammadreza Mousavikhah, the managing director of the National Iranian Oil Products Distribution Company (NIOPDC), was quoted by media as saying that Iran’s imports of the crucial fuel stood at an average of 5.7 million liters per day over a period of three months starting 21 March 2018 – a period that marks the first quarter in the country’s official Persian calendar year.

Mousavikhah emphasized that the figure was around 36 percent lower than the same period last year.

Meanwhile, Iran’s official news agency IRNA in a report said the decline in gasoline imports was a result of the development of a strategic refinery in southern Iran – the Persian Gulf Star Refinery.

It quoted Alireza Sadeqabadi, the managing director of the National Iranian Oil Refining and Distribution Company (NIORDC) – the mother company of NIOPDC – as saying that the partial development of the Persian Gulf Star Refinery had helped slash gasoline imports by around a half.

Sadeqabadi had earlier emphasized that Iran’s imports of the fuel over a period of six months starting 21 March 2017 stood at 13 million liters per day. However, he added, the figure dropped to around 5 million liters per day for a period of three months ending 21 March 2018.

In late June, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani inaugurated Phase Two of Persian Gulf Star Refinery which has a production capacity of 12 million liters per day of Euro 4 and Euro 5 premium gasoline.

The refinery feeds on condensate supplies from South Pars and its total production is expected to increase to as high as 36 million liters per day when the third phase becomes complete before next April.

Officials have already said the project could make Iran self-sufficient over its gasoline needs and would even enable the country to become an exporter of the strategic fuel.

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