Iran's crude output to increase
The Islamic Republic of Iran plans to raise its oil output by 45,000 bpd in the current Iranian year. Mr Ahmad Qalebani MD of the National Iranian Oil Company said that with the development of oilfields including Khesht, Sarvestan and Sa'adatabad, some 45,000 barrels of oil will be added to the country's daily production.
The fields are located in the southern Iranian province of Fars. The Khesht oilfield has proven crude reserves of more than 1 bn barrels while the other two, Sarvestan and Saadatabad hold a combined reserve of over 1.4 bn barrels.
Mr Qalebani said that developing joint hydrocarbon fields is a priority of the NIOC in the current Iranian year. Iran signed contracts worth $ 25 bn for the development of its oil and gas fields last year and is expected to ink deals valued at a similar amount this year.
Iran holds the world's third largest proven oil reserves and the second largest natural gas reserves. The country's total in place oil reserves have been estimated at more than 560 bn barrels, with about 140 bn barrels of extractable oil. Moreover, heavy and extra heavy varieties of crude oil account for roughly 70 bn to 100 bn barrels of the total reserves.
South African crude oil imports from the Islamic Republic of Iran have increased to $ 434.8 mm in March from $ 364 mm in February. South Africa's Revenue Service said that Africa's biggest economy imported 505,908 tons of Iranian crude in March up from 417,188 tons the previous month.
South Africa has come under pressure from western countries to cut Iranian crude imports in line with the sanctions designed to halt Tehran's nuclear energy program but it seems that Pretoria has not bowed to the US pressure to downgrade commercial ties with Iran.
In January, trade and customs figures showed that South Africa's crude imports from Iran stood at zero, compared with a monthly average of $ 280 mm last year but they began rising again in February. According to the March data, crude imports totaled 1.6 mm tons with Nigeria supplying 38 %, Iran 32 %, Saudi Arabia 22 % and Angola the rest.
The United States and the European Union recently imposed tough financial and oil sanctions on Iran in an attempt to pile up pressure on the country.
The US sanctions measure requires foreign financial institutions to make a choice between transactions with the Central Bank of Iran and Iran's oil and financial sectors or being banned from the US economy. The EU agreed to ban oil imports as well as petroleum products from Iran and freeze the assets of the Central Bank of Iran across the EU.
The European Union also imposed a ban on the sale of diamonds and gold and other precious metals to Iran.
Iran has conclusively refuted the allegations that its nuclear program has been diverted to weapons production, saying that as a signatory to the nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency it has the right to acquire and develop nuclear technology meant for peaceful purposes.
Mr Hassan Khosrojerdi head of the Iranian Oil, Gas and Petrochemical Products Exporters Union announced the launch of a project to build small refineries which will produce light oil products including gasoline, gas oil and kerosene as 85 % of their output.
Mr Hassan Khosrojerdi said that a refinery with 1,000 barrel capacity requires around $ 100 mm in investment. Since these refineries can be established at various spots around the country, their products can be used to meet domestic needs and for exports.
He said that the construction of the small refineries is an economically viable option for Iran adding that countries like Kazakhstan, Iraq and Afghanistan have already embraced this new technology.