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Iran insists global gasoline market over-supplied, sellers setting terms

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran, under sanctions that affect its ability to import gasoline, believes the market for the fuel is oversupplied and that buyers, not sellers, are setting conditions, its OPEC governor said on Monday. “Currently the number of buyers in the market is limited and it is a buyer’s market and not a seller’s (market),” Mohammad Ali Khatibi was quoted as saying by IRNA news agency. “In a way it is the buyer who determines the conditions for the supply of this product in the market.” Iran is the world’s fourth-largest oil exporter but a lack of refining capacity and sanctions hindering access to foreign capital and know-how have forced Tehran to import up to 40 percent of its automotive fuel needs. That vulnerability was targeted by new sanctions from the European Union and the United States imposed to pressure Iran to curb its nuclear program. A U.S. threat to sanction companies supplying Iran has reduced the pool of sellers. But Khatibi said there was no shortage of supply. “Considering that the high-consumption season for summer travel has come to an end, there are plenty of gasoline sellers who want to market their gasoline,” he said. Iran has insisted sanctions are having no negative impact and, rather than damaging the economy, they are spurring domestic industry and have reduced reliance on imports. Last week Oil Minister Massoud Mirkazemi was reported as saying Iran had already become self-sufficient in gasoline, something traders outside Iran said they thought was unlikely. Conservative daily Resalat reported Monday that Iran had imported over 1.64 million tons of gasoline over the last month. Over the last five months it had bought more than 3 million tons from 10 different countries: the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Turkmenistan, the Netherlands, Singapore, Oman, Saudi Arabia, India, Russia and France, it said. Reuters reported in August that Iran had been paying a premium of around 25 percent for its imports even before U.S.-led sanctions took full effect. Imports in July fell far below the seasonal norm after sanctions came into force, according to trade sources. In a separate report Monday, the official in charge of jet fuel at the Oil Ministry said suppliers of that product were trying to use the sanctions to overcharge Iran, pushing the country to pursue new means of production. “The emergency production of gasoline, and also aviation fuel, began at the country’s petrochemical units in light of efforts by international suppliers of this commodity to overcharge Iran due to the sanctions,” Fars new agency quoted Faribourz Panahi as saying.

16:30 - 15/09/2010    /    Number : 6603    /    Show Count : 4220