Birjand, South Khorassan prov, May 8, IRNA-Managing Director of National Oil Derivative Production and Distribution Company (NODPDC) said here Sunday that the gasoline imports is expected to cost the country dlrs 4.5 billion in the current year (1384) which started March 21.
Hossein Kashefi said that the figure was dlrs three billion last year.
The total refining capacity is 40 million liters daily where as 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, Khashefi 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 by October.
"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.
The government and the parliament have reportedly not yet reached a consensus on whether or not to ration petrol. The government is pressing for rationing fuel from September.
Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh had said earlier this year that gasoline coupons have been printed and would be distributed soon.
However the Majlis Energy Commission stressed that the parliament would not allow the government to ration petrol. Gasoline sells for almost 10 cents per liter in Iran, which is among the cheapest in the world.
Environmental groups blame high fuel consumption for the worsening air pollution in Tehran and other major cities. Economists say low prices are behind excessive consumption.
Iran is to implement projects worth dlrs 100 to dlrs 150 million at refineries to boost gasoline output by seven to eight million liters a day, said an official here last month.
Director of the Refining Affairs Department at NODPDC Mohammad Zali told reporters that a seven- to eight-million liter increase in the daily output would be possible by the next two years with the successful implementation of bench marking system at the refineries.
Zali said the Anglo-Dutch conglomerate Royal Dutch/Shell was the advisory partner with Iran in the project for assessment of the condition of Iranian refineries and their comparison with 63 major refineries worldwide in terms of the production level, productivity, and number of workforce.
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