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Iran’s Oil Refining Capacity Rises 18% in 2010, OPEC Says

Iran’s oil-refining capacity increased 18 percent last year, the biggest gain among OPEC members, according to a report by the 12-member group.

Iranian capacity rose to 1.74 million barrels a day from 1.47 million in 2009 as facilities in Abadan, Arak, Tehran, Isfahan, Shiraz, Lavan and Bandar Abbas expanded, the Vienna-based of Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries said today in its Annual Statistical Bulletin.

Iran is trying to cut dependence on fuel imports after international sanctions over its nuclear program prevent foreign companies from doing business there. Refining capacity fell 2.9 percent to 800,000 barrels in neighboring Iraq, OPEC said.

Output of petroleum products in Libya climbed 56 percent to 545,800 barrels a day, followed by Algeria’s surge of 53 percent to 631,500 barrels, according to the report.

Outside OPEC, Russia increased its exports by 84 percent to 2.24 million barrels a day, the group said, while Italy’s exports rose 31 percent to almost 559,000 barrels.

Belgium increased its imports of petroleum products by 87 percent to 675,000 barrels daily, making it the third-largest importer after the Netherlands and France in western Europe, the report showed. Global consumption of refined-products increased 2.5 percent to 80.3 million barrels a day in 2010, OPEC said.

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