Iran General NewsIran fuel imports down 57 pct after rationing-report

Iran fuel imports down 57 pct after rationing-report

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Reuters: Iran’s daily gasoline imports have fallen about 57 percent since the country introduced fuel rationing last June, a senior oil official was quoted on Saturday as saying.
TEHRAN, Feb 2 (Reuters) – Iran’s daily gasoline imports have fallen about 57 percent since the country introduced fuel rationing last June, a senior oil official was quoted on Saturday as saying.

The world’s fourth-largest oil producer lacks refining capacity and must therefore import large amounts of fuel, which it then sells at heavily subsidised prices. It introduced rationing to curb soaring consumption.

Deputy Oil Minister Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh said Iran currently imported 15 million litres of gasoline per day on average, out of total daily consumption of 58.5 million litres.

“The amount of imports in the first three months of this year before rationing began was 35 million litres a day,” he was quoted by the state broadcaster as saying, referring to the Iranian year that starts on March 21.

“With gasoline rationing, in the current year, more than $4 billion have been saved,” he said without elaborating.

A senior official suggested in October that imports would drop at least 20 percent during the current Iranian year to about $4 billion worth of gasoline. Another official last month said the government predicted $3.2 billion would be needed for gasoline imports during the year starting next March.

The rationing scheme, which provoked anger among Iranians when it was introduced, has cut average daily consumption by 22 percent to 59 million litres compared with the same period last year, the state oil refining and distribution firm said in December.

The monthly quota for private motorists was raised by 20 percent to 120 litres on Dec 22.

All gasoline in Iran, whether produced locally or imported, is sold at the heavily subsidised price of 1,000 rials (about 11 U.S. cents) a litre. This has burdened state coffers.

Importing gasoline is also a sensitive issue when Iran is facing Western pressure over its disputed nuclear programme. (Reporting by Zahra Hosseinian; Writing by Fredrik Dahl; Editing by David Stamp)

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