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Iran’s First New Refinery 40 Percent Complete, Oil Official Says

Iran’s Persian Gulf Star refinery, under construction in the southern city of Bandar Abbas, is 40 percent complete, Deputy Oil Minister Alireza Zeighami said.

Iran expects the first phase of the refinery which has a production capacity of 120,000 barrels a day to come on stream “in the next two years,” Zeighami, who also heads the National Iranian Oil Refining and Distribution Co., told reporters in Tehran today.

The Persian Gulf Star will be the first of Iran’s planned new refinery to start and its total output capacity will be 360,000 barrels a day, Zeighami said. Iran seeks to build seven new refineries at a total cost of $25.8 billion, he said. Other planned facilities are Pars, Anahita, Hormoz, Khuzestan, Caspian and Shahriyar.

Iran, the second-largest oil producer in the Middle East after Saudi Arabia, has relied on imports for as much as 40 percent of its gasoline needs because it lacks the refining capacity to meet domestic consumption.

Iranian officials say the country succeeded in curbing domestic consumption after rationing subsidized gasoline since 2007 and following the implementation in December of a five-year plan to phase out energy subsidies.

Iran produces about 54 million liters of gasoline a day currently and targets a daily output of 99.7 million liters at the end of 2015, Zeighami said.

The Persian Gulf Star is mostly privately owned, while 40 percent of its shares belong to NIORDC, the official said.

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