OPEC’s second largest producer Iran has made a drastic cut in gasoline imports through rationing and saved over $1.2 bln in this Iranian year. Official figures show that the country’s petrol imports amounted to 5.77796 bln liters and 2.916337 bln liters in the first half of the previous and current Iranian year (from March 22-Sept. 22), respectively, showing a 42% decrease in imports since government launched the rationing program.
Figures also reveal that Iran imported USD2.6489 bln and USD1.437 bln during the aforementioned periods, respectively, meaning that the country plunged imports by 45% (in value) and saved USD1.2119 bln in the first six months of this year.
Official reports said that Iran has bought each kilo of imported petrol for USD0.7 during the first half of the current year.
Meantime, the oil ministry earlier announced that it aims to slash petrol purchases to 15 million liters per day (94,000 barrels per day) over the next six months – nearly 60 percent below the rate before rationing started in June, when Tehran imported 36 million liters a day.
“We are buying tremendously less in the market than before rationing was imposed in June,” Hojjatollah Ghanimifard, international affairs director of the state-owned National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), said last month.
“With this lower amount of imports, we expect to save about $3 billion over the whole year.”
The effects of rationing already are in evidence, with Tehran saving over $1.2 million during the first half of the Iranian year.
During that period, the Islamic Republic’s imports of gasoline averaged 15.67 million liters per day. The next six months will be even lower.
“Our import target for the second half of the Iranian year is a maximum 15 million liters/day,” said Ghanimifard.
Iran’s gasoline import requirements are 15 million liters/day for this month (September) and 14 million liters/day in October, he said.
India, the Netherlands, France and the United Arab Emirates are Iran’s primary suppliers.
Importing gasoline is a costly business for Iran, which subsidizes all fuel sold at the pumps – whether imported or not – so drivers pay just 1,000 rials (11 US cents) a liter.
Under rationing, private cars can buy 100 liters of gasoline a month, but drivers can also buy their quotas up to six months in advance.