Iran in talks over oil refinery in Spain

Long-term project would guarantee sales of crude to help with Tehran’s economic recovery

Ángeles Espinosa
An oil platform in the Persian Gulf.
An oil platform in the Persian Gulf.RAHEB HOMAVANDI (REUTERS)

Iran plans to participate in the building of an oil refinery in Spain as part of an overall strategy to guarantee overseas sales of its own crude, Iran’s deputy oil minister said at the weekend.

Abbas Kazemi was quoted in local media as saying that the project is still at the negotiation stage, but that the plant would have the capacity to refine around 200,000 barrels of crude per day and would be financed by both Spanish and Iranian investors.

“There are various Spanish companies that have offered proposals to construct this refinery” Deputy Iranian Oil Minister Abbas Kazemi

“The negotiations haven’t concluded yet, but there are various Spanish companies that have offered proposals to construct this refinery,” said Kazemi, who is also managing director of the National Iranian Oil Refining and Distribution Company (NIORDC).

Although the top official didn’t offer any details about the specific companies that would work on the project, he said that NIORDC and Spanish companies would split the investment.

Spanish sources in Tehran said that there is interest by at least one company over Iran’s new strategic plan, “but no developments” have come out.

Last October, Kazemi said that Tehran was embarking on a strategy to invest in overseas refineries to seek more customers for its oil. The project will guarantee Iran’s oil sales to Spain since it will only refine crude from Iran.

“The only assured way to increase exports is to invest in refineries abroad,” said Kazemi, while rejecting arguments that the plans were too costly.

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Last year, NIORDC signed preliminary agreements with Indonesia and Brazil for similar refineries, and is also in talks with India and China, according to HispanTV.

With the imminent lifting of world sanctions against Iran since Tehran signed an international nuclear agreement last July, the Iranian government has been exploring different ways to return to the global oil market as a major player.

Iran has expressed an interest in purchasing and constructing refineries in Europe, Latin America and Asia to facilitate buyers while guaranteeing its own economic recovery.

Last November, Iran hosted an international conference to present its new business model for its petroleum industry.

English version by Martin Delfín.

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