Iran gasoline imports almost halved

Iran imported 507,250 tons of gasoline worth $376 million dollars in the first three months of the current calendar year (started March 21, 2010).

The amount shows nearly 50 percent decrease in terms of weight in comparison to the previous year's figure, ISNA News Agency reported.

The United Arab Emirates with over 376,000 tons of gasoline worth over $276 million was the first exporter, while Turkmenistan, Singapore, Oman, and Netherlands were the other exporters.

Iran had imported over 1, 033,000 tons of gasoline worth $911 million in the same period previous year.

Iran may cut gasoline imports by 75%, IEA says

Iran, facing international sanctions over its nuclear energy plans, is likely to reduce gasoline imports by 75 percent by 2015 as it expands refining capacity and tackles subsidies, the International Energy Agency said, Bloomberg reported.

Iran's gasoline imports will shrink to 100,000 barrels a day in five years from 400,000 in 2009, the IEA said on Tuesday in its latest monthly report.

Expanding refineries, upgrading as well as building new reprocessing units are likely to increase gasoline output, the IEA said. Iran will add 818,000 barrels a day of upgrading and desulfurization capacity, it said. Crude distillation output will gain by 101,000 barrels a day from 1.76 million barrels, according to the report.

"Attempts to tackle fuel subsidies and ultimately lower demand do appear to be moving forward with the intention to fully eliminate subsidies by 2011," the Paris-based adviser said. "This situation has led the government to ration gasoline and to develop alternatives, such as natural gas vehicles."

Iran, the second largest oil producer in the Middle East, relies on imports for up to 40 percent of its gasoline needs as it lacks the refining capacity to meet domestic consumption.

"The limited number of traders willing to supply Iran with gasoline and jet fuel is driving up the cost of fuel, casting doubt on the republic's ability to source the full volumes required," the IEA said.

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