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Iran's gasoline imports between 4-4.5 billion dollars this year: Official

Tehran, July 19, IRNA-Managing Director of National Oil Derivatives Production and Distribution Company (NODPDC) Hossein Kashefi said here onday that gasoline imports, if the current consumption trends continue, will range dlrs 4-4.5 billion by the end of this Iranian year (March 20).

He told reporters that the gasoline budget shortfall for the first half of the current year will be around dlrs 900 million.

Kashefi further added since the beginning of the year over dlrs 1.5 billion have been allocated to imports of gasoline and the average gasoline imports are 26 million liters in the same period.

He said the budget was calculated at dlrs 420 per ton of gasoline, which with increase in oil prices have reached dlrs 500 per ton or higher."

"The budget shortage does not mean shortage of gasoline in the country given that the Majlis is reviewing a bill to foot the bill," Kashefi underlined. The figure was dlrs three billion last year.

The total refining capacity is 40 million liters daily whereas the gasoline consumption is estimated to exceed 64.5 million liters daily this year. "Hence, we have to import 24.5 million liters daily," he added.

He said that optimizing gasoline consumption is the most effective solution to rein in the unfettered consumption.

If public transportation is not adequately developed then the country will face major shortage of gasoline in the Iranian year of 1400 in which the consumption is forecasted to stand at 308 million liters, he underlined.

Another alternative is conversion to gas-powered engines in cutting down gasoline consumption and environmental preservation, Kashefi added.

He further said that the gasoline consumption would grow by 10 percent this year. The growth in petrol consumption declined to 7.8 percent last year from 11.5 percent in the previous year.

"We are planning to offer natural gas in 188 more filling stations in Tehran," he said in reference to efforts underway to optimize energy consumption.

He said some 2,000 filling stations would be equipped with electronic payment systems using smart cards in the fall.

"Once this project is complete, it would be the largest information technology project in the country," he said adding that the cards will be used at times fuel is to be rationed.

Some experts say huge fuel subsidies have to be eliminated to discourage high demand for petrol across the country.

They believe that Majlis decision to keep fuel prices unchanged for the current fiscal year is a blow to efforts to reduce gasoline consumption.

Another reason for the very high petrol consumption in Iran is that most of the country's vehicles are dilapidated and consume high amounts of fuel, which has also worsened air pollution in metropolitan areas.

... Payvand News - 7/19/05 ... --

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