Tehran, Iran, May 24
By Mehdi Sepahvand - Trend:
Iran is expecting to inaugurate new refinery projects by the end of the current Iranian fiscal year (March 20), whereby it will increase its gasoline production capacity from the current 62 ml/d to about 80 ml/d.
National Iranian Oil Refining and Distribution Company Director of Production Coordination and Monitoring Said Mahjoubi announced the news, Mehr news agency reported May 24.
He said that the new projects are under construction in Isfahan, Bandar Abbas, Lavan, and Abadan.
The four projects will boost gasoline production to 67 ml/d; and the first stage of the Setareh Khalij Fars refinery will also turn operational by the end of the current year, Mahjoubi said.
He went on to say that Setareh Khalij Fars stage one will be able to produce 12 ml/d of Euro 5 gasoline.
He said that the domestic production of high-octane gasoline stands at 4 ml/d - where 2 ml/d is produced at the Isfahan refinery and 2ml/d at the Arak refinery. Mahjoubi pointed out that Iran also imports some more high-octane gasoline to meet domestic demand.
Rumors about a hike in fuel prices grew in Iran as semi-subsidized gasoline quotas were not charged into fuel cards this month for the first time over the past eight years.
Iran used to import 40 percent of its needed gasoline by 2009. But the international sanctions forced it to produce gasoline domestically by adding lead or some poisonous chemical catalysts such as MTBE to the product. MTBE, or methyl tertiary butyl ether, is an oxygenate added to gasoline to boost octane levels and to help fuel burn cleaner. While it's been replaced by ethanol in the U.S. after it contaminated drinking water, other countries still use it. Its offensive odor and taste can render water undrinkable, while its health effects are unclear.
The volume of gasoline imports has hit a record high in Iran since the implementation of the subsidy reform plan in the country in September 2010.
In the second Iranian calendar month of Ordibehesht, some 10 million liters of gasoline has been imported on average per day.
Gasoline consumption in the past Iranian fiscal year, which ended on March 20, 2015, rose by 1.8 percent compared to its preceding year, while production fell by 4 percent year on year.