TEHRAN (Iran News) –President Ebrahim Raisi officially inaugurated a first super heavy oil refinery in Iran on Friday as the country moves ahead with plans to develop its massive petroleum sector despite sanctions imposed by the United States.
On Friday, Raisi opened the Qeshm Heavy Oil Refinery on the second day of his provincial tour to the southern Hormozgan region.
It is said the refinery had been working on a pilot basis and using a half of its refining capacity in recent years, adding that the facility has now reached its full capacity for processing 70,000 barrels per day of crude.
Iran’s Oil Minister Javad Owji said during a visit to the refinery on Thursday that the facility will fed on super heavy oil from Soroush and Nowruz oilfields in the Persian Gulf.
Owji said private owners of the Qeshm Refinery had provided around $220 million in investment for construction of the refinery and for the supply of machinery and equipment to the facility.
He said the refinery could reach a refining capacity of 100,000 barrels per day within the next three years.
Qeshm in one of the world’s largest islands that is located in the Persian Gulf just few kilometers off the southern Iranian coast.
The area is one of major special economic zones of Iran where regulations are more lax compared to the mainland to encourage more investment in trade and manufacturing activities in the region.
On Friday Raisi said efforts to neutralize U.S. sanctions against his country are not tied to Vienna negotiations with the P4+1 group of countries, stressing that his administration is not putting all its eggs in one basket when it comes to dealing with U.S. sanctions and rendering them ineffective.
“Although the pursuit of removing sanctions is a serious agenda of the government, the effort in the thirteenth government to neutralize the sanctions has not been dependent on negotiations, so that today and under the sanctions situation, our oil sales have increased so much that we no longer worry and the proceeds are also returning to the country,” Raeisi wrote in a tweet on Friday morning.
Diplomats from Iran and the other remaining parties to the 2015 Iran agreement, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), are engaged in the eighth round of diplomatic negotiations in Austria’s capital to bring the US back into the deal.
Earlier on Thursday and speaking during his fourteenth provincial trip in Hormozgan province, President Raisi said Iran’s oil export has increased by 40% and the revenues from oil exports return to the country.
On his fourteenth provincial trip, Raisi arrived at Bandar Abbas Airport, Hormozgan Province, southern Iran on Thursday morning and was welcomed by the representative of the Supreme Leader in the province, the governor-general and local officials.
Visiting the projects of the province, meeting with different groups of the people, elites, veterans and families of martyrs, participating in the meeting of the Administrative Council and a press conference will be the most important programs of the President’s visit to Hormozgan province.
Upon his arrival at the airport of Bandar Abbas, Raisi said, “Agriculture, tourism and the maritime economy have very good fields and capacities for development, and despite these capacities, we should not see some shortcomings, poverty and unemployment in the province.”
Stating that there is a high level of security in the province, which has led to good security in the Persian Gulf, he said, “I feel obliged to thank the armed forces of the province for providing good security in the sea and sky of Hormozgan and the Persian Gulf with their conscious and insightful presence.”
“In the light of the existing security in Hormozgan, any kind of investment in the province can be guaranteed and by relying on these investments, efforts can be made to develop Hormozgan,” he added.
“The 13th government has made good plans for the development of Hormozgan in various fields so that it can take effective steps in this regard and make people and economic actors feel that effective steps are being taken in this direction,” he said.