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Iran Looking At Africa To Expand Oil, Refined Products Exports

Iranian officials are touting soaring volumes of exports of oil products, announcing today that the first exports of gas oil products—fuel oil distilled from petroleum--are heading to African countries.

Iran is keen to boost its status as a major exporter of gasoline, kerosene, liquid petroleum gas (LPG), jet fuel and mazut in the Middle East.

Managing Director of the National Iranian Oil Products Distribution Company (NIOPDC) Seyyed Naser Sajjadi was quoted by Iranian media today as saying: “With the implementation of new phases at South Pars field leading to increased natural gas production, the exports volume of oil products particularly gas oil has soared.”

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According to Sajjadi, Iran has now added the Central Asia nation of Tajikistan to its customer list—which has largely included Iraqi, Afghanistan and Pakistan—exporting 2.9 million liters of gas oil in the first shipment.

Iran has reportedly exported more than 1.7 billion liters of gas oil to various countries since the beginning of the current Iranian year.

African countries are eyeing potential new relationships with Iran in the post-sanctions environment. This week, Ghana’s President John Mahama became the first African leader to visit Iran since sanctions have been lifted, saying the country was committed to new trade and business opportunities.

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In Kenya, Iran is hoping to seal a crude oil export deal, while elsewhere in East Africa, Tehran is looking for more markets for its refined products.

"We intend to renew memoranda signed by Kenya for importation of crude oil, and enter into new agreements in oil and gas exploration and extraction with EAC members," media quoted Iranian ambassador to Kenya, Hadi Farajvand, as saying.

In May 2012, Kenya and Iran had signed a memorandum of understanding for Kenya to import 80,000 tons of crude oil from Iran. However, the deal was canceled two months later due to sanctions. Kenya is now said to be preparing to review that deal.

By Charles Kennedy of Oilprice.com

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