Iran withdraws from Syria, Malaysia refinery construction

Baku, Azerbaijan, June 3

By Umid Niayesh - Trend:

Iran has withdrawn jointly constructing of refineries in Malaysia, Indonesia and Syria, the Islamic Republic's Deputy Oil Minister Abbas Kazemi said.

Currently construction of all joint refineries in the three countries is halted, Kazemi added.

The money that was paid by partners for preliminary studies has been returned, the Iranian official said, adding currently Iran has no plan for participation in the mentioned projects, Iran 's Mehr news agency reported June 3.

Kazemi did not provide further information on the reasons of Iran's withdrawal of the projects.

Just a year ago, Iran announced that it is preparing to build five refineries in Indonesia with total refining capacity of 300,000 barrels per day, aimed to diversification of Iran 's oil export.

Iran also inked a contract in 2008 to build a refinery-petrochemical complex in Malaysia to produce gas oil, gasoline, jet fuel, liquefied natural gas (LNG) and petrochemical raw materials.

The issue of building refinery in Syria also raised in 2009 when an Iranian and Venezuelan joint oil company announced than plans to build a refinery in Syria with a capacity of 140,000 barrels of oil per day. It was announced that Iran and Venezuela will supply 20 and 30 percent of the refinery's heavy crude feedstock respectively and Syria will supply the balance.

Kazemi however said that Iran still follows the idea of constructing refineries abroad.

Constructing refineries abroad with participation of international investors will safeguard Iran 's oil export for a long period of at least 20-25 years, he underlined.

Tehran can count on stable consumers for decades by building refineries in foreign countries, Kazemi said.

He also said that the Islamic Republic is negotiating with some foreign investors including delegations from India, China and Brazil on the issue.

Iran and Brazil have signed a preliminary memorandum of understanding (MoU) to build an oil refinery with capacity of refining 300,000 barrels per day of crude oil, Kazemi said.

The refinery will only consume crude oil as feed and its construction is aimed at securing long term demand for Iran 's exported crude oil, he added.

Tehran has held negotiations with an Indian company as well in order to construct a refinery with 400,000 barrel per day capacity, he added.

No agreement has signed so far on the issue, Kazemi said, adding if a final agreement is reached between the two countries the refinery will be constructed with a 50 percent investment from Iranian side.

By holding 157 billion barrels of recoverable crude oil reserves, Iran possesses the world's fourth largest reserves of crude oil.

The Islamic Republic also holds 33.6 trillion cubic meters of proven gas reserves, sharing 18 percent of total global gas reserves, which puts the country in the top of the world's gas holders list.

Iran's current oil production is estimated to be around 2.8 million barrels per day of which about one million barrels are exported.

Edited by CN

Follow the author on Twitter: @UmidNiayesh

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