Deputy Minister: Iran capable of turning ultra-heavy into light oil
Iran has acquired the necessary know-how to turn its ultra-heavy oil to light oil, Iranian Deputy Oil Minister Mohammad Reza Moqaddam announced on Wednesday, Fars News Agency reported.
"The technology to lighten the ultra-heavy oil was used in Khuzestan's oil refinery for the first time in the world," Moqaddam said, adding that Iran possesses considerable resources of heavy and medium-heavy crude.
Iran, which sits on the world's second largest reserves of both oil and gas, is facing US sanctions over its civilian nuclear program.
Tehran has dismissed West's demands as politically tainted and illogical, stressing that sanctions and pressures merely consolidate Iranians' national resolve to continue the path.
A recently imposed set of extra sanctions by the US and its European allies on gasoline supplies to Iran revealed how anti-Iran sanctions backfire.
Iran used to be a net importer of gasoline until very recently, but after the western powers signaled that they intended to use gasoline supply to Iran as a pressure lever to stop the country's nuclear progress, Iran started domestic production of gasoline to the world surprise.
Iran increased its gasoline production after the United States and the European Union started approving their own unilateral sanctions against the Islamic Republic over its nuclear program, mostly targeting the country's energy and banking sectors, including a US boycott of gasoline supplies to Iran.
After the UN Security Council ratified a sanctions resolution against Iran on June 9, 2010, the US Senate passed a legislation to expand sanctions on foreign companies that invest in Iran's energy sector and those foreign companies that sell refined petroleum to Iran or help develop its refining capacity.
The bill, which later received the approval of the House of Representatives, said companies that continue to sell gasoline and other refined oil products to Iran would be banned from receiving Energy Department contracts to deliver crude to the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve. The bill was then signed into law by US President Barack Obama.
But Iran's self-sufficiency in gasoline production made Washington's plots fall flat. Iran boosted gasoline production so much that in September 2010, the country exported its first gasoline consignment to the foreign markets.