Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced that Iran will become a major world gasoline exporter once the under-construction Setareh Khalij-e-Fars (Star of the Persian Gulf) refinery in Southern Iran comes into full operation.
"If all phases of Setareh Khalij-e-Fars refinery go on stream, Iran will become a major gasoline exporter," Ahmadinejad said, addressing people in the inauguration ceremony of a large steel production complex in the Sothern province of Hormozgan on Monday.
The Setareh Khalij-e-Fars refinery is being constructed in West of Bandar Abbas port city in Southern Iran.
Iran which is the world's fourth-biggest crude oil exporter long depended on imported gasoline for 30 to 40 percent of its consumption, but has now become a net exporter.
Iran increased its gasoline production after the United States and the European Union started approving their own unilateral sanctions against the Islamic Republic over its nuclear program, mostly targeting the country's energy and banking sectors, including a US boycott of gasoline supplies to Iran.
After the UN Security Council ratified a sanctions resolution against Iran on June 9, the US Senate passed a legislation to expand sanctions on foreign companies that invest in Iran's energy sector and those foreign companies that sell refined petroleum to Iran or help develop its refining capacity.
The bill, which later received the approval of the House of Representatives, said companies that continue to sell gasoline and other refined oil products to Iran would be banned from receiving Energy Department contracts to deliver crude to the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve. The bill was then signed into law by US President Barack Obama.
But Iran's self-sufficiency in gasoline production made Washington's plots fall flat. Iran boosted gasoline production so much that in September 2010, the country exported its first gasoline consignment to the foreign markets.
National Iranian Oil Refining And Distribution Company (NIORDC) Managing-Director Alireza Zeiqami announced last month that the country's gasoline production capacity will rise by 16 million barrels per day up to the end of current Iranian calendar year (20 March 2012).
In April, the National Iranian Oil Engineering and Construction Company (NIOEC) announced that Iran was set to increase its gasoline output by more than four times, from the current 42 million liters (11.09 million gallons) per day to 186 million liters (49.1 million gallons) per day in a five-year period.