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Iran plans major upgrade of oil refineries

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Isfahan Refinery in central Iran

Iran is in talks with foreign companies for an extensive revamp of its oil refineries which are in dire need of upgrade after years of draconian Western sanctions. 

Talks have been held so far with Japanese and Korean firms to invest in Iran’s renovation and improvement of oil processing facilities, head of the National Iranian Oil Refining and Distribution Company Abbas Kazemi said Tuesday.

Among the projects, Isfahan and Bandar Abbas refineries will get $1.2 billion each to upgrade and enhance products.

Nine Iranian refineries currently process 1.8 million barrels of crude oil per day. According to Ministry of Petroleum reports, cited by IRNA, only one facility is operating with an acceptable profit margin and the rest need major upgrades.  

Kazemi said Iranian refineries were producing too much fuel oil and his company was exhorting them to make higher-value products.

“As per the Vision Plan, fuel oil production has to reach 10%. This rate is currently at 28%,” he said.

US-led sanctions have limited Iran’s access to modern technology and equipment in a variety of sectors, including in its massive energy and transportation sector.

Western sanctions on Iran’s oil industry forced the country to use its petrochemical plants for production of gasoline which dramatically worsened air pollution in cities.

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