An Iranian official said in Tehran on Sunday that given the current unfettered consumption, gasoline import bill may top dlrs seven billion by the end of the fourth five-year development plan (March 2005-2010), IRNA reported.
Speaking at an energy seminar, Managing Director of Energy Consumption Optimization Organization Mohammad Sadeqzadeh said in recent years the amount of energy production rose significantly to meet the domestic needs.
However, due to neglect of various aspects in the sector including up-to-date technology, efficient energy consumption and financing of project, the situation has become alarming.
"Hence, we are at a point of crisis brought about by skyrocketing energy consumption in transportation sector and the resulting excessive gasoline consumption and its expenditures," he pointed out.
He further said that investments in electricity sector is close to dlrs two billion annually, which, if the current trend continues, has to be increased to dlrs four billion by 2010.
"Invariably, the country may face financing difficulties in imports of gasoline and investments in the energy sector." Iran can learn from experiences of other nations, such as Japan, in optimizing energy consumption in various sectors, Sadeqzadeh underlined.
Iran's crude oil refining capacity has doubled to 1.6 million barrels per day (bpd) from 750,000 bpd in the 25 years since the victory of the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
Director of Planning at National Iranian Oil Derivatives Refining and Distribution Company Asadollah Mikaeeli told IRNA that Abadan refinery had a capacity of refining 480,000 barrels of crude oil in 1979 but with outbreak of the war in 1980, the refinery's capacity reached zero.
Mikaeeli said Iran's gasoline output showed a growth of 4.3 percent, kerosene 2.4 percent, diesel 4.5 percent, liquefied gas 3.71 percent and kiln oil 2.4 percent on average over the past 25 years.
He said liquid gas consumption showed a growth of 6.75 percent, gasoline six percent, kerosene 0.7 percent, diesel 4.2 percent and mazute 2.5 percent on average over the past 25 years.
Kerosene imports followed upward trend in the beginning of the 1979 Islamic Revolution but the commissioning of Arak refinery in 1994 it began to decline. Iran halted import of the product from 1998, turning into its exporter.
The official said average kerosene exports stood at about two million liters a day in 2003 and it is expected to reach 2.6 million liters a day in 2004.
Iran's diesel imports continued rising until 1979, but began to decline in the 1989-1994 period when Arak refinery went into operation. Iran hence turned into an exporter of diesel from 1998. Iran is to import 1.6 million liters of diesel next year, said the official.
Iran has never been able to achieve self-sufficiency in gasoline, said Mikaeeli, adding that Iran started importing 438,000 liters of gasoline a day in 1982.
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