Gasoline Grade Scrutinized

Gasoline Grade ScrutinizedGasoline Grade Scrutinized

The quality of gasoline distributed in Iran is regularly checked by domestic and international organizations to ensure it is on a par with global standards, an official said, amid alarming levels of air pollution in Tehran and other big cities that have endangered the lives of millions of citizens.

Saeed Mahjoubi, head of quality control at the National Iranian Oil Refining and Distribution Company, said on Tuesday the Iranian National Standards Organization, the Air Quality Control Company and municipalities closely monitor gasoline production in Iranian refineries, Shana reported.

“Random samples of domestic gasoline are taken [by these organizations] and sent to major international laboratories, including one in Germany, for further testing,” he said.

Mahjoubi said measures have been taken to raise gasoline production quality to Euro-4 standards at Tehran, Abadan, Arak, Isfahan, Tabriz and Bandar Abbas refineries.

Tehran’s air pollution hit its worst level on Monday, or seven times above the World Health Organization’s standards, forcing officials to close schools and warn people against open-door activities. One necessary measure to fight pollution is raising the quality of gasoline distributed nationwide.

According to some reports, regular gasoline in Iran has an octane number of 92 and the number for premium gasoline, marketed as Super, is 95. INSO officials say the octane number should stand between 95 and 98 to be within the acceptable rating limits.

Octane rating or octane number is a standard measure of the performance of an engine or aviation fuel. In simple terms, higher octane number indicates higher quality of gasoline.

The official also dismissed reports that average gasoline production has dropped by 6 million liters a day.

“Iran has produced an average of 58-60 million liters per day of gasoline in the past few days,” he said, adding that average gasoline output in the past nine months stood at 58 million liters a day, slightly lower than last year’s levels.

Mahjoubi also noted that daily gasoline production increased by up to 5 million liters for 2-3 months this year because of a surplus of naphtha in Abadan and Bandar Abbas refineries as well as the idle processing capacity of some other refineries.

Data show that gasoline output rose from 50 million liters a day in 2012 to 58 million and 60 million liters per day in the following two years, respectively.

  Illegal Footprints

Iran said last week it denied entry to a gasoline tanker from Turkmenistan due to “low quality of Turkmen gasoline”, but reports suggest a purported Arab dealer is using a popular messaging app to sell gasoline.

A wave of messages has spread among Iranian users of Telegram in the past few weeks, claiming to be sent from a UAE-based company who wants to sell a 3,700-ton cargo of gasoline produced by a Turkmen refinery.

But officials have asserted that no such deal has taken place and the government is determined to curb the inbound supply of low quality gasoline.

In related news, Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said plans are underway to organize gas stations nationwide into three types, only one of which would offer gasoline at the official rate of 10,000 rials (approx. 32 cents) per liter.

He made the statement in a meeting with members of Tehran Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Mines on Tuesday.

According to Zanganeh, the new arrangement is part of efforts to sell gasoline under brand names, which would be a first in the Persian Gulf country.

“The Oil Ministry is not against gasoline supply by the private sector, but it should be done under a brand name” even if a gas station is owned by a private investor, the minister said.

Earlier this year, French oil and gas major Total and the Royal Dutch Shell were said to be shown the green light to establish a total of 200 gas stations across Iran, but officials quickly dismissed such an arrangement with any domestic or international contractor.