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Iran says is self-sufficient in gasoline-state TV

Mirkazemi says sanctions pushed Iran to expand capacity.

September 8, 2010 9:11 by

Iran has raised its gasoline production to attain self-sufficiency in the strategic product and foil sanctions targeting its energy needs, the state TV website reported its oil minister as saying on Tuesday.

“We attained a production of 66.5 million litres a day in the country’s refineries,” said Massoud Mirkazemi, according to IRIB’s website.

He said that prior to the increase Iran had domestic production of 44 million litres and imported 20 million litres to meet the market’s needs.

Iran is the world’s fourth-largest oil exporter but lack of refining capacity has forced it to import up to 40 percent of its gasoline needs.

That vulnerability was targeted by new sanctions from the European Union and the United States imposed to pressure Iran to curb its nuclear programme, which the West fears is aimed at making weapons, something Tehran denies.

Volumes of gasoline sailing into Iran in July fell far below the seasonal norm, trade sources said.

Mirkazemi’s comments appeared to contradict a remark on Aug. 30 by Deputy Oil Minister Alireza Zeighami, who said major refinery capacity increases were still required before self-sufficiency could be achieved.

“We will become self-sufficient by the end of next Iranian year (March 2012) upon the completion of two new fuel production projects,” he was quoted as saying by state news agency IRNA.

Mirkazemi said it was the impact of sanctions that had pushed Iran to rapidly expand its refining capacity.

“In view of the recent conditions in the wake of the sanctions and the mischievousness of some sellers in increasing gasoline price, the increased production of this product began at the (refining) units 20 days ago,” he said. (Writing by Robin Pomeroy, editing by Anthony Barker)

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