Deal With Sierra Leone to Build Refinery

Deal With Sierra Leone to Build RefineryDeal With Sierra Leone to Build Refinery

Iran has reached preliminary agreements with Sierra Leone to build a refinery in this small African country, managing director of the National Iranian Oil Engineering and Construction Company said on Monday.

"In the first phase of the negotiations, the two sides have been negotiating an agreement to construct an oil storage unit  in Sierra Leone," Ali Asghar Sajedi was quoted as saying by Mehr News Agency.

According to Sajedi, the second phase includes undertaking feasibility studies to build an oil refinery in the African state.

Underscoring several rounds of talks with Sierra Leonean officials, he added, "It is predicted that the final agreement will be concluded in the near future."

Pointing to Iran's new policy either for purchasing other refineries' stake or building refining complexes overseas, the official noted that serious negotiations are underway with Brazil, Malaysia, India and South Africa to buy their stocks.

Sajedi believes that the new strategy is aimed at securing Iran's crude supply in international markets for a long time.

In other words, such investments facilitate oil sales for at least 25 years all over the world.

Underlining the advantages of such a commercial venture, he said, "Construction of refineries in foreign states will help us not only produce oil byproducts such as gasoline, but also export them to target destinations regardless of distance."

Emphasizing that the private sector is expected to pursue the new policy more vigorously than others, Sajedi said, "The National Iranian Oil Engineering and Construction Company will play the role of technical observer in the negotiation process."

According to Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh, talks are underway to buy Greek refineries' stocks as well.

"Tadbir Energy Development Group, which owns and operates oil and gas refineries, has shown interest in purchasing Greek refinery stocks and in case it is finalized, the Oil Ministry will endorse it," he added.

Zanganeh discussed the prospect of building an oil refinery with South Africa's Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa in Tehran last month.

"Iran is ready to help build an oil refinery in South Africa with minimum contribution and on condition that it resumes the import of Iranian crude," Zanganeh said

Resuming oil export to Pretoria was also discussed with the South African envoy.

"Resuming crude supply will be the first step to boost relations with Pretoria after the lifting of sanctions," Zanganeh said, adding that Pretoria is also interested in buying petroleum products from Iran.

Tehran was once the biggest oil supplier to South Africa–Africa's most advanced economy—contributing around 25% of its total oil demand, or around 380,000 bpd. But Saudi Arabia overtook Iran as the biggest supplier in 2012 after the US and European Union imposed oil and trade restrictions on the Persian Gulf country.

Tehran and Brasilia also reached an agreement to build a crude refinery in Brazil under a similar framework last month.

Iran and six world powers reached a historic deal on July 14 in Vienna, which would limit the Persian Gulf country’s nuclear program in return for removing sanctions on its energy and financial industries.