Private Sector Averse to Gasoline Import

Private Sector Averse to Gasoline Import  Private Sector Averse to Gasoline Import

The liberalization of gasoline import has not met with an enthusiastic response of the private sector up to now, a deputy oil minister said.

"In the budgets of last two years, the government had granted permission to the private sector to import gasoline, but due to the expensiveness of imported gasoline compared to the gasoline produced in the country, the permission did not favor private companies," Abbas Kazemi also told Mehr News Agency.

The official added that if private companies import gasoline, the government will determine the price and the National Iranian Refining and Distribution Company is obliged to control its quality.

Asked whether private companies can use state-owned infrastructures such as pipelines, stores and oil berths for importing, transferring and distributing gasoline, Kazemi said, "Yes, they can. But they must pay the costs."

“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, Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said on Tuesday.

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

Giving more details on a plan to organize gas stations into three types, Kazemi, who is also NIRDC's managing director, said the plan does not aim to change gasoline quality but to merely distribute gasoline of three qualities.

"Under the proposed plan, the government will continue pricing gasoline in a way that price ceilings for different qualities are determined, based on which gas station owners will sell gasoline within the limits," he added.

Earlier this week, Zanganeh said only one type of gasoline will be offered at the official rate of 10,000 rials (approx. 32 cents) per liter, adding that the new arrangement is part of efforts to sell gasoline under brand names, which would be a first in the Persian Gulf country.

The proposed plan will help monitor gas stations regarding health, safety and environmental concerns. They can offer better services to customers without imposing an extra cost.