Azerbaijan, Baku, Nov.9 / Trend F.Milad/
Iran plans to boost its oil refining capacity up to 3.5 million barrels per day (bpd) up to the end of the next Iranian calendar year (March 2013), the Shana news agency quoted Deputy Oil Minister Alireza Zeighami as saying on Wednesday. The current figure is 1.7 million bpd.
"The development plans are underway at seven refineries," Zeighami told, adding that the plans are expected to be completed by March 2013.
Iran's oil refining capacity increased by 18 percent last year, the biggest growth among OPEC members, according to the Annual Statistical Bulletin of the 12-member organization.
Iranian capacity rose to 1.74 million barrels a day from 1.47 million in 2009 as facilities in Abadan, Arak, Tehran, Isfahan, Shiraz, Lavan and Bandar Abbas expanded.
Iran is trying to cut dependence on fuel imports following the international sanctions over its nuclear program prevented foreign companies from doing business there.
The set of statistics of OPEC also vindicate Iran's claims that sanctions aren't crippling the development of its oil and gas industry. For instance, crude oil exports from the Islamic Republic to Europe in 2010 rose 34.5% to 764,000 barrels a day on average.