Iran says gasoline stocks enough for two years
The current volume of gasoline reserve is sufficient to meet domestic needs by March 2011 and the country sees no risks to its gasoline imports, the head of the National Iranian Oil Products Distribution Company (NIOPDC) said on Tuesday.
He made the comments a day after France's Total joined the list of Western oil companies stopping sales to Iran due to sanctions.
Farid Ameri told the oil ministry website SHANA that consumption was declining, helping trim Iran's reliance on gasoline imports.
"Under any conditions we are able to supply the country's gasoline needs and there is no problem in producing or importing gasoline," he added.
Ameri said average daily gasoline consumption in the first three months of this year was 62.8 million liters, down from 64.4 million year-on-year. Average daily domestic production was 44.6 million liters, he said.
Ameri also said Iran's stocks of gasoline were up 500 million liters in the period March 21 to June 2, compared with the same period a year ago. He did not disclose Iran's total stock levels.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Monday Iran could become self-sufficient in gasoline "within one week" if necessary.
As well as attempting to increase domestic refinery output, Iran is trying to reduce demand -- a policy that will be intensified later this year when a major phase-out of government subsidies begins.
Last week, the U.S. Congress approved unilateral measures that went far beyond the latest wave of UN sanctions -- including penalties for companies supplying Iran with gasoline.
The world's fifth-largest oil producer lacks sufficient refining capacity and imports up to 40 percent of its gasoline needs -- making it potentially vulnerable to sanctions which the West is pushing to squeeze Iran over its nuclear program.
Iran says its uranium enrichment program is entirely peaceful.