Iran is looking for domestic and foreign investment in a $25-billion (Dh92 billion) scheme to double oil and gas refining capacity by 2015, Oil Minister Gholamhossein Nozari said.
“These development projects fall in five categories with a total production capacity of 1,750,000 barrels per day [bpd] and an estimated cost of $25 billion,” Nozari told an oil conference in the Iranian capital.
“This will be an excellent opportunity for both Iranian and foreign companies to come in and develop the country’s refineries,” he said. Iran, the world’s fourth-largest oil exporter, lacks refining capacity and must import huge amounts of costly gasoline to meet its needs, a sensitive issue as the West continues to seek ways to penalise Tehran for its disputed nuclear activities.
In 2006, the country started a multi-billion dollar, five-year programme to expand and upgrade its domestic refining capacity to 3.3 million bpd from the current 1.65 million bpd.
But analysts have said that surging costs and poor state funding for these projects will likely see the target date of completion pushed back. A senior official was quoted in May as saying the refineries would come on stream by 2012.
Nozari said the projects would be completed by the end of the fifth five-year plan ending by 2015.
(Reuters & Gulf News)