Iran to shut Abadan refinery crude unit end-Oct

SINGAPORE - Iran will shut its 180,000 barrels per day (bpd) crude unit at its Abadan refinery sometime around end-October for scheduled maintenance, a source from the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) said on Wednesday.

By (Reuters)

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Published: Wed 23 Jul 2008, 6:42 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 12:56 PM

The source said the shutdown could last between 30 and 40 days, which is part of the OPEC member's multi-billion dollar effort to expand and upgrade its domestic refineries to 3.0 million bpd by around 2012, from about 1.6 million bpd.

'Yes, they will start this maintenance in October sometime, when the weather is cooler,' the source said.

Iran, the world's fourth-largest oil exporter, lacks refining capacity and must import huge amounts of costly gasoline to meet its needs, a sensitive issue as the West continues to seek ways to penalise Tehran for its persistent nuclear work.

Iran launched gasoline rationing last June to curb consumption, which had risen well beyond the country's ability to refine crude, forcing the government to rely on expensive imports.

Analysts have dismissed Iran's plan to bolster its refining capacity, saying that surging costs and poor state funding for these projects will likely see the target date of completion pushed back.

Iran's access to financing mega-projects have also been hampered by curbs from European banks and energy firms to do business with the Islamic Republic.

Most recently Royal Dutch Shell scrapped investments in Iran because of pressure from Western governments, while France's put its plans on hold due to political tensions. But Russian and Asian firms have stepped in to fill the gap.

In May, Iran officials had said via local media reports that it had started with the construction of seven refineries at the cost of $23.22 billion.

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