Iran has launched the third phase of a new refinery, making the country self-sufficient in gasoline production, Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zangeneh said on Monday.
At the opening ceremony of the third phase of the Bandar Abbas Gas Condensate Refinery, also called the Persian Gulf Star Refinery, the minister said that Iran’s gasoline production had more than doubled since 2013.
Despite holding large crude oil reserves, the Islamic Republic have been importing gasoline for its domestic needs for years, because under the previous Western sanctions, it couldn’t buy spare parts for refinery equipment and maintenance, and because of its low gasoline production capacity.
Last year, before the U.S. withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal imposing new sanctions on Iran, the Islamic Republic was making progress in cutting its gasoline imports and had set gasoline self-sufficiency as a high priority.
Most of Iran’s imports came from refiners in India, Southeast Asia, and North Asia. Back in April last year, Iran was aiming to end imports of gasoline by the end of 2018.
The three phases of the Persian Gulf Star Refinery, when completed, were expected to produce a total of 55 percent of Iran’s gasoline, in addition to 13.5 million liters per day of diesel.
Speaking at the inauguration of the new refinery unit on Monday, Zangeneh said, as quoted by the oil ministry’s news service Shana:
“Today, contrary to what was the case a decade ago that petrol imports could be subject to the sanctions, we are no longer an importer of the item and can even become a petrol exporter and the US cannot have a word to say in this regard.”
Iran could export some of the gasoline, but it will not do it because it wants to boost its domestic stockpiles of the product, the oil minister added, as carried by Shana.