Iran is to mark a milestone of 100 million liters per day in gasoline production this week when the third phase of its most important refining project comes online, making the country self-sufficient in the fuel.

Gasoline production at the Persian Gulf Star Refinery in Bandar Abbas will increase by a collective of 35 million liters per day from three phases which feed on the condensate from South Pars in Asaluyeh.

“With the launch of the third phase of the Persian Gulf Star Refinery at the end of the week (on Friday), the gasoline production capacity will reach 105 million liters a day,” Deputy Minister of Petroleum Alireza Sadeqabadi said on Tuesday.

“This is a 67% increase from last Aban (October 2017)” when Iran produced 63 million liters a day of gasoline, he said.

The first phase of the refinery came into operation in April 2017 and the second phase last June. Each phase has been designed to produce 12 million liters per day of high-octane gasoline and diesel.

With the operation of the third phase, Iran will produce 20 million liters of surplus gasoline in the second six months of the Persian year which ends on March 21, Sadeqabadi said.

“We are currently preparing for a big leap in increasing gasoline production capacity at the weekend,” he said.

The 360,000-barrels-a-day refinery, being built with 3.5 billion euros ($4.7 billion) of investment, immunizes Iran from US sanctions reimposed in November.

Despite being a major oil producer, Iran used to import gasoline to fill the gap between domestic supply and consumption. The imports turned into Iran’s strategic vulnerability after the West imposed sanctions on the country in 2012.

The Persian Gulf Star Refinery is owned by Oil, Gas and Petrochemical Investment Company (49%), Oil Industry Pension Fund (33.1%) and National Iranian Oil Refining and Distribution Company (NIORDC) (17.9%).

Billed as the Middle East’s largest condensate refinery, it enables Iran to export gasoline and other high-value products.

Each of the three phases of the refinery are designed to also produce 4.5 million liters/day of Euro-IV diesel, one million litters/day of kerosene and 300,000 liters a day of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).

This undated photo shows an aerial view of the Persian Gulf Star Refinery in Bandar Abbas, Iran.

Last January, Iran sold its first consignment of naphtha produced at the Persian Gulf Star Refinery to the United Arab Emirates.

There is already a strong demand in Asia for naphtha which is used to produce products such as ethylene and propylene, the building blocks of plastics. Strong economic growth in countries such as India is expected to generate fresh interest in the product.

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