Iranian envoy to Sofia voiced Tehran's enthusiasm for building an oil refinery in the Bulgarian Black Sea city of Varna.
Iranian Ambassador to Bulgaria Gholamreza Bagheri Moghadam made the proposal during a meeting with the District Governor of Bulgaria's Varna Dancho Simeonov on Tuesday.
"We are ready to complete this project the way Bulgaria likes," he said, meaning that Iran could finance in full the construction of a refinery in Varna, or it could form a joint venture with Bulgaria, or work as a contractor.
Moghadam stated that his country has lots of experience in the oil refining industry. Iran has 10 functioning oil refineries, and several others are under construction.
Iran sits on the world's second largest reserves of both oil and gas, he reminded.
Iran is the second largest oil exporter within the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
Bulgaria at present has only one operational oil refinery - Lukoil Neftochim - located in the other large Bulgarian Black Sea port, Burgas. The refinery owned by the Russian energy giant Lukoil is the largest in the Balkans, with a total capacity of 9.5 million tons annually.
Lukoil Neftochim Burgas is facing competition from the Petromidia refinery in the Romanian Black Sea port of Constanta. Romania's Rompetrol, which is owned by the state-owned oil company of Kazakhstan, KazMunayGas, recently moved to boost the capacity of the refinery, bringing it to 5 million tons annually as of the start of 2011, from the current 3.8 million tons.
Iran's offer to build a refinery in Bulgaria comes after earlier on Tuesday, Varna District Governor Simeonov and his counterpart from the West Azerbaijan Province in Iran, Vahid Jalalzadeh, signed a cooperation agreement between the respective regional authorities that they represent.
West Azerbaijan's administration has made it clear it is ready to cooperate with Bulgaria's Varna in the fields of tourism, transit transport, and various economic activities. A direct bus line from Varna to Urmia, the capital of West Azerbaijan, has been discussed as a future possibility.