Reuters: Iran has plans in place to deal quickly with the consequences of a proposed U.S. law that would penalise companies supplying the country with gasoline, its oil minister was quoted as saying on Monday.
TEHRAN, May 18 (Reuters) – Iran has plans in place to deal quickly with the consequences of a proposed U.S. law that would penalise companies supplying the country with gasoline, its oil minister was quoted as saying on Monday.
The U.S. Congress is considering legislation to impose sanctions on companies that sell, ship, finance or insure gasoline exports to Iran. Under the bill, which aims to pressure Iran over its nuclear plans, foreign companies doing so would be barred from conducting business in the United States.
"They are (threatening) us with sanctions on gasoline imports while…we presently have the capability to meet the country's gasoline needs within 48 hours," the semi-official ISNA news agency quoted Gholamhossein Nozari as telling an oil conference in Tehran.
He said there were seven Iranian refineries that could raise their gasoline production at short notice, if needed.
Iran, the second largest crude oil producer in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, lacks enough refining capacity to meet its gasoline needs and imports 40 percent of them.
In an attempt to stem growing consumption of gasoline, Iran introduced rationing two years ago.
Without rationing, gasoline consumption would have risen to some 90 million litres a day, compared with an average of 64 million litres since its introduction, Nozari said.
He said investment had continued in the state oil and gas industry despite sanctions that prohibit foreign companies from investing in the country's oil sector.
"The latest information on the conditions of investment in the past four years indicate that a total of $66 billion from domestic and foreign sources have been invested in the oil industry," he said, adding that $18 billion of the amount was from foreign sources.
Iran has also signed $70 billion in initial energy agreements over the past four years, he said.
Iran has raised oil production capacity to a record 4.3 million barrels per day, and would focus on developing its gas industry in the coming years to exploit the world's second largest natural gas reserves, Nozari said. (Reporting by Hashem Kalantari, editing by Anthony Barker)