Kazakhs Mull Building Refinery With Iran, China

Kazakhs Mull Building Refinery With Iran, ChinaKazakhs Mull Building Refinery With Iran, China

Kazakhstan is assessing plans to build an oil refinery in cooperation with Iran and China, deputy governor of the country's Mangystau Region said in a meeting with Valiollah Afkhami-Rad, head of Iran's Trade Promotion Organization (TPO), Tasnim news agency reported Friday.

"A Chinese company has proposed to build a crude refinery with six million tons per year capacity in cooperation with Iran and Kazakhstan," Rakimbek Amirzhanov said. He added that Iran and Kazakhstan import around 40 percent and 30 percent of their oil byproducts demand respectively.

Kazakhstan aims to expand the Aktau Port in the Caspian Sea region to increase annual trade volume with Iran from two million to four million tons. Aktau is one of the largest cities in western Kazakhstan, and the country's main seaport on the Caspian Sea.

The Central Asian country's oil shipment to Iran from the Aktau Port in the post-sanctions era accounts for nearly five million tons per year, Amirzhanov said, adding that crude extraction is carried out by Chinese contractors.

The official also said the Chinese have plans to deliver Kazakh crude to northern Iranian ports and ship the same amount of oil to China from Iran's southern seaports.

After eight days of marathon talks on Tehran's nuclear program in Lausanne, Switzerland, Iran and the P5+1 (Britain, China, France, Russia, the US plus Germany) reached a framework agreement on April 2 that calls for lifting all trade sanctions against Iran. The details of the agreement are to be finalized by a June 30 deadline.

Kazakhstan is a major oil producer. The country's estimated total crude and other liquids production was 1.70 million barrels per day in 2014.

Iran is a partner in joint oil and gas projects with Kazakhstan including construction of a pipeline connecting Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Iran which will give Astana access to the Asian markets.