Petchem projects inaugurated in Assalouyeh

The Morvarid Petrochemical Complex and the second phase of the Pardis Petrochemical Company officially came on stream on Wednesday in Assalouyeh.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad attended the inauguration ceremonies in the port city in southern Iran, the SHANA news agency reported.

A total of $900 million has been invested in the projects, which are anticipated to add 2.25 million tons to Iran's petrochemical production capacity. 

The Morvarid complex will produce ethylene and the Pardis unit will produce urea and ammonia.

The projects will create over 1,000 direct jobs and nearly 15,000 indirect jobs.

Iran to export gasoline in four years: oil minister

Oil Minister Massoud Mirkazemi has dismissed the sanctions imposed on the country, saying the country will raise its daily gasoline output to 170 million liters in four years.

"Iran will not beg foreigners to implement its oil, gas, and petrochemical projects," Mirkazemi said on the sidelines of the petrochemical projects' inauguration ceremony. 

He added that Iran will become a gasoline exporter when the country's gasoline production reaches 170 million liters per day, Press TV reported. 

"Iran currently has the (required) expertise in petrochemical industries," the Iranian oil minister said. 

He went on to say that Iran's petrochemical units will be able to produce 15 million liters of gasoline per day in an "urgent" situation. 

"Iran currently faces no problem in meeting its gasoline needs. Thus, urgent gasoline production projects have been halted," he stated. 

In a recent report, a London-based energy think tank said that Iran's plans to increase its oil refining capacity will allow it to join the group of gasoline exporting countries within five years. 

The report by Energy Market Consultants (EMC) suggests that by completion of the upgrades, Iran will be able to meet its domestic gasoline needs, estimated at around 400,000 barrels a day, and will achieve a small surplus in production of between 60,000 and 70,000 barrels a day. 

The study group says that if the scenario is realized, efforts to maintain pressure on Iran in the medium and long term by limiting its access to global gasoline markets could be weakened. 

According to the report, Iran produces between 280,000 and 285,000 barrels of gasoline a day and until recently had acquired the remaining 30 percent, which is about 115,000-120,000 barrels a day, through major oil companies, a number of which are European. 

Iranian Deputy Oil Minister Mohammad Shahnazizadeh announced in late April that the country will become self-sufficient in gasoline production within three years, as policies to suppress demand and increase refining will finally free the country from reliance on imports. 

In June, the U.S. Congress voted in favor of new unilateral sanctions on Iran's energy and banking sectors over Tehran's nuclear program. 

Mehdi Varzi, a London-based energy consultant, said Iran could become self-sufficient in three years if it manages to both add gasoline production capacity and raise domestic prices.

Iran's oil reserves rank third-largest in the world at approximately 136 billion barrels as of 2007. This is roughly 10 percent of the world's total proven petroleum reserves. Iran is the world's fourth-largest oil producer and is OPEC's second-largest producer after Saudi Arabia. 

Iran has the world's second-largest reserves of natural gas (15% of the world's total) with an estimated 974 trillion cubic feet in proven natural gas reserves. About 62% of these reserves are located in non-associated fields.

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