AFP: High domestic consumption is harming Iran’s oil industry on top of international financial pressures linked to its nuclear programme, a top oil official was quoted as saying on Sunday. TEHRAN (AFP) High domestic consumption is harming Iran’s oil industry on top of international financial pressures linked to its nuclear programme, a top oil official was quoted as saying on Sunday.
“The consumption of energy is very high, efficiency is low. There is no energy saving and consumption habits and low prices are harmful,” Iran’s representative to OPEC, Hossein Kazempour Ardebili, said in an interview with the weekly magazine Shahrvand.
“This is all based on figures and statistics and cannot be disputed. The government is responsible and should be held accountable,” he added.
Last month former oil minister Kazem Vaziri Hamaneh said after being sacked by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that Iran faced a “crisis” in its oil industry if its consumption was not dampened.
Iran is seeking to rein in the frenzied consumption of its highly subsidised petrol by motorists through a rationing scheme. But it is still forced to import around 30 million litres a day to make up for shortfalls in refined oil.
A widely reported study published in December by the academic Roger Stern of Johns Hopkins University in the United States said Iran could soon face its own energy crunch owing to failing infrastructure and lack of investment.
But Kazempour Aredebili denied that international pressures against the Iranian economy over its controversial nuclear programme were reducing the clout of the number two producer in OPEC.
“They (the West) are claiming that Iran is not important and that the sanctions tool against Iran is working and if they continue it for a few more years Iran will quickly become paralyzed.
“Their actions are continuing but we do not have problems since we are aware of their intentions.”
European banks have drastically cut down business with Iran in recent months in response to a US drive to pressure Iran financially, complicating Iranian efforts to find much needed investment for oil projects.
“What I can add that that Iran is doing its best to attract possibilities (of investment) from the world though it is faced with restrictions,” said Kazempour Ardebili.
He said the government was combating the problems through long-term development plans and 200 new projects in the oil and gas sectors would become operational by 2012.