By Luke Pachymuthu
New $2.5bn project in southern Iran set to tackle country's lack of refining capacity.
Iran's state oil refining company expects to complete construction of a new 360,000 barrel per day condensate refinery in the second half of 2010, a company source said on Monday.
Sixty-five percent of the capacity at the new $2.5 billion refinery, in southern Iran, will be configured to produce gasoline, with diesel and kerosene making up the rest, the source said.
"The production of gasoline at this refinery will help Iran reduce its reliance on gasoline imports, and should satisfy our domestic consumption requirements," the source said.
Iran's gasoline consumption level for 2008 was pegged at about 45 million litres per day (283,000 bpd), the source said.
"The new refinery will produce up to 40 million litres of gasoline (251,000 bpd) and around 20 million litres (125,799 bpd) of middle distillates daily, the source 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 seeks ways to put pressure on Tehran over its nuclear programme.
Tehran pays international prices for the fuel but subsidies at the pump ensure its gasoline is among the cheapest in the world. (Reuters)