Annual exports of petroleum products quadrupled in seven years: Minister
Domestic Economy Desk
Iran’s annual exports of petroleum products quadrupled in seven years, said the oil minister.
In the previous calendar year, which ended on March 19, 2020, Iran exported 23 million tons of the products; whereas, in 2012, the figure stood at 5.9 million tons, added Bijan Namdar Zanganeh on Monday in an address to a ceremony to inaugurate a number of national projects for transfer, distribution and storage of petroleum products, Shana reported.
The minister said Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s administration has made great achievements in petroleum products refining and distribution sector since taking office in 2013.
He added the country’s daily refining capacity has reached 2.2 million barrels per day from 1.8 million barrels per day in 2012.
“Iran’s daily gasoline and diesel production, which stood at 50 million liters and 94 million liters, respectively, in 2012, increased to 107 million liters and 113 million liters, in the year to March 2020.”
He noted that the quality of Iran’s petroleum products has improved significantly over the past few years, saying the country’s annual production of premium gasoline, meeting Euro 4 and Euro 5 emission standards, which stood at zero in 2012, reached over 76 million liters in the year to March 2020.
“The country’s daily production of premium diesel, which amounted to six million liters in 2012, hit 45 million liters in the previous calendar year.”
Zanganeh noted that Iran has 13,000 kilometers of main pipelines for transferring oil and petroleum products, which transfer 1.5 million barrels of the products per day for domestic consumption.
He stressed that the projects’ oil and petroleum products pipes are all produced domestically, saying the Goreh-Jask pipeline, in southern Iran, is “the most Iranian oil pipeline of the country”.
The minister noted that all equipment of the pipeline are manufactured domestically, giving the assurance that the welding and pipe laying phases of the project will be completed by March 20, 2021.
Speaking at the same ceremony, Qassem Arab Yarmohammadi, the CEO of Iranian Oil Pipeline and Telecommunication Company (IOPTC), said construction of oil pipelines and storage tanks helps significantly accelerate transfer of petroleum products and reduce the costs involved in the process.
The oil minister inaugurated three oil transfer pipelines with a total length of 1,000 kilometers in Monday’s ceremony. Constructed with $400 million in investments, the pipelines help increase the country’s oil and petroleum products transfer capacity by 560,000 barrels per day.
Envoy: Swiss companies willing to invest in Iran
Switzerland’s ambassador to Tehran expressed his country’s enthusiasm for trade cooperation with Iran and investments in the country.
In a meeting with an Iranian vice president, Markus Leitner said Swiss companies seek to invest in Iran, Tasnim News Agency reported.
He also called for the removal of customs-related obstacles to promote trade with the Islamic Republic.
In spite of the US sanctions, several Swiss companies are willing to make investments in Iran, Leitner added.
In May 2018, former US president, Donald Trump, pulled his country out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, signed between Iran and the P5+1 in July 2015, and reimposed Washington’s unilateral sanctions on Tehran as part of his administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign against the Islamic Republic to bring it to the negotiating table and hammer out a new nuclear deal. Although the sanctions have mainly targeted Iran’s oil and banking sectors as well as foreign trade, they failed to produce favorable results thanks to Iranian people’s maximum resistance.
Speaking at the meeting, the Iranian vice president, Mohammad Baqer Nobakht, hailed the recent negotiations between the two countries’ presidents as a sign of mutual trust.
Nobakht, who is also the head of the Plan and Budget Organization, praised Switzerland for maintaining good and logical relations with Iran.
“The sun of sanctions is setting and the sun of cooperation is rising,” he added, expressing hope for broadened cooperation between Tehran and Bern.
In a telephone conversation with his Swiss counterpart, Guy Parmelin, last week, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani hailed the historical and deep ties between the two states, stressing that it is necessary to develop and deepen the relations within the framework of a joint cooperation roadmap.
Japan, UN sign MoUs on sustainable development projects in Iran
Domestic Economy Desk
The Japanese government has signed two exchange of notes for the country’s grant aid to support projects by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The documents were signed in a ceremony at the Japanese Embassy in Tehran, attended by Aikawa Kazutoshi, the Japanese ambassador to Iran, Ahmadreza Lahijanzadeh, the deputy head of Marine Environment and Wetlands of the Department of Environment, Nabiollah Khounmirzaei, the deputy minister and head of Iran Fishery Organization, Claudio Providas, the representative of UNDP in Iran and Maryam Javanshahraki, the representative of UNIDO in Iran.
In an address to the signing ceremony, the ambassador said, “It is a great honor for me to have this opportunity, on behalf of the government of Japan, to sign two Exchange of Notes for Japan’s Grant Aid to support UNIDO’s and UNDP’s projects in the Islamic Republic of Iran today.”
He added, “As you know, Japan and Iran have been enjoying traditionally friendly relations for a long time. The government of Japan would like to continue to further expand its friendly relations with Iran.”
The government of Japan has decided to donate the amount of ¥676 million ($6.48 million) to Iran for the implementation of the two important projects to be implemented by UNDP and UNIDO, respectively, in the country, namely, ‘The Project for Promoting Environmental Management and Sustainable Livelihoods in Lake Urmia and other Wetlands, and ‘The Project for Promoting Inclusive and Sustainable Development of the Yellowfin Tuna Value Chain in Chabahar’.
These two projects are very important cooperation between the two countries in terms of their direct impacts on the daily lives of local residents which indicates Japan’s determination to contribute to the well-being of Iranian nationals, the ambassador stressed.
“In line with the efforts to halt the drying up process and revival of the lake, the government of Japan has been continuously supporting UNDP’s project for the restoration of Lake Urmia via local community participation in sustainable agricultural practices and biodiversity conservation since 2014. In this new project, the knowledge and experiences gathered through all these years will be transferred to the remaining spots of the Lake Urmia basin and it will also be disseminated to other two wetlands in Iran which are facing similar problems.”
He added, “I would like to use this opportunity to convey our sincere gratitude to the UN agencies for their valuable collaboration and efforts in facilitating the government of Japan’s support for the implementation of the projects in the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
The ambassador noted, “As you may know, the government of Japan has allocated $27.5 million last year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic for the implementation of some of the UN agencies’ emergency projects in Iran.”
“In addition, we have already approved six new proposals from UN-Habitat, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNFPA, WFP and IPPF under the government of Japan’s ‘Supplementary Budget Scheme’ for Fiscal Year 2020, with a total amount of about $7 million.”
India may turn to Iran, Venezuela for oil imports
India is planning to resume energy imports from countries such as Iran and Venezuela to counter the high crude prices by some oil producers, local media reported.
India may make diplomatic efforts to organize oil-consuming countries against the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies (OPEC+) as producers keep crude prices artificially high by restricting supply, and also plans to resume imports of cheaper energy from countries such as Iran and Venezuela to counter the group, Hindustan Times quoted two officials as saying.
India’s domestic fuel prices have spiked because of rising energy demand after rapid recovery of major economies from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, but OPEC continues to restrict supply, which is a major concern for New Delhi, they said on condition of anonymity.
“The current crisis is artificially created by oil producers. Diplomatic efforts are on to ease the supply situation,” one of the officials said.
India has already requested OPEC and its allies, including Russia (together known as OPEC+) to immediately restore the output that was substantially cut to stabilize crude prices when the COVID-19 pandemic began raging and most of the global economies were under lockdowns, the officials said.
The group, OPEC+, on April 12 last year announced a 9.7-million-barrel per day cut in oil output, a 10th of the global output, from May 1, 2020, but did not adhere to the planned restoration of the supply reduction.
“India can raise this matter at various forums such as Quad, a plurilateral platform involving the US, Japan, India and Australia. With the easing of tension at the border, New Delhi may also engage Beijing to have a common voice of the world’s four-five major oil consumers. South Korea could also be an ally on this matter of common interest,” one official quoted above said. India is the third-biggest oil consumer in the world after the US and China.
The officials mentioned above said India can resume supply of cheaper oil from Iran from a virtual zero since 2019, and also augment imports from Venezuela.
“The import curbs were imposed under pressure from the [Donald] Trump government. Now, either the US will help to mitigate our energy crisis or we will act in the interest of our nation,” a second official said.
According to Hindustan Times, India, which imports more than 80 percent of the crude it processes, imported about 23.5 million tons of Iranian crude, nearly a 10th of its requirement, in 2018-19.
Iran, Iraq close four border crossings to passengers due to COVID concerns
Domestic Economy Desk
Four border crossings between Iran and Iraq have been closed only to passengers, and one will be shut down as of Tuesday (today), due to the concerns over the spread of the UK strain of the coronavirus, announced the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration (IRICA) on Monday.
The IRICA spokesman, Rouhollah Latifi, added based on a decision by the governor general offices of the border provinces in both countries, Chazabeh, Shalamcheh, Tamarchin and Kileh border crossings have been closed to passengers for a two-week period, which started on Sunday, IRNA reported.
Mehran border crossing will be shut down as of Tuesday, he noted.
The spread of the UK strain of the coronavirus in Iraq has been the main reason for the closure of the border crossings, Latifi said.
However, he added, the border crossings will remain open for conducting commercial and trade activities.
According to the Iranian Health Ministry, the death toll from the coronavirus in the country stood at 59,572 on Monday, with the infections exceeding 1,582,200.
According to worldometers.info, the total number of COVID-19 infections and deaths in Iraq reached 671,801 and 13,295 respectively on Monday.
Intermediate goods and raw materials constitute 90 percent of Iran’s imports, said Hamid Zadboum, the head of the country’s Trade Promotion Organization, on Monday, IRNA reported.