Iran plans to increase its refining capacity for crude and condensate by more than 70 percent within the next four years as it works to improve the quality of fuel sold on the domestic market and wean itself off imported gasoline.
Iran will raise capacity to about 3.2 million barrels a day by 2020 from 1.85 million currently by building five plants, Abbas Kazemi, managing director of National Iranian Oil Refining & Distribution Co., said in an interview in Tehran. The country also needs about $14 billion in investment to upgrade units at five existing refineries to produce gasoline that burns more cleanly than grades currently available in the country, he said.
Iran, OPEC’s third-largest oil producer, is boosting energy output after international sanctions curbing its access to oil markets were eased in January. Since then, Iran has restored oil production near to pre-sanctions levels and raised output of natural gas at the offshore South Pars field, part of the world’s largest deposit.
One of the new refineries, the 360,000 barrel-a-day Gulf Star, is scheduled to start operating by March, Kazemi said. The refinery will process condensate, the light oil found in gas deposits. Iran is seeking to use its condensate to make gasoline for transportation or naphtha for use in chemical plants.