New Brand Gasoline Stations Get Operating License

New Brand Gasoline Stations Get Operating LicenseNew Brand Gasoline Stations Get Operating License

The National Iranian Oil Refining and Distribution Company has issued licenses for two privately-owned companies to establish the first commercialized fuel stations in Iran under their own brand names, financial manager of NIORDC said on Thursday.

“Following the evaluation of 40 companies that had applied for the license, two managed to meet the necessary criteria, the most important of which was financial ability to establish chain gas stations that supply compressed natural gas besides gasoline,” Mohammadreza Mazloumi was quoted as saying by Shana.

Underscoring the fact that the unnamed companies will officially begin their operations as of next week, the official said, “There are other firms striving for the necessary qualifications, namely workforce and infrastructure.”

According to reports, eligible companies should also hold a minimum of 7% stake in refineries/petrochemical complexes and have at least 60 gas pump hoses, but are obliged to increase the number of hoses to 300 over two years.

The initiative to commercialize gas stations was launched with the aim of increasing the quality and quantity of fuel stations in mega cities. Pointing to much-needed incentives to help the trend keep growing, Mazloumi said, "New fiscal policies have been adopted to encourage domestic companies to invest in similar ventures."

  Single-Platform Gas Stations

Seventeen small gas stations, known as single-platform stations that contain several dispensers in a single row, were piloted in Isfahan in April in a ceremony attended by Abbas Kazemi, managing director of the NIORDC.

The contract to build stations was signed between Isfahan Municipality and an unnamed private investor. According to reports, the project is also planned to for Tehran usually grappling with long lines of gas guzzlers everyday in a limited number of gas stations.

Kazemi believes that nationwide expansion of single platform gas stations, especially in major cities, will not only curb congestion but will also respond to the urban development challenges in an eco-friendly way.

Regarding safety standards, the NIORDC chief said, "There is nothing to worry about", stressing that all the necessary measures have been taken to ensure the safety of the gas station attendants and motorists. Daily gasoline consumption in Isfahan ranges between 6 and 9 million liters. There are 3,450 gas stations in Iran, of which 227 are in Isfahan Province. The total number of CNG stations is around 2,300 while the province has 150.  

According to reports, which were strongly denied by government officials last year, British oil and gas firm Royal Dutch Shell and French major Total were given the green light to set up 200 gas stations in Iran.

  Ranking Gas Stations  

The Oil Ministry is planning to rank gas station brands. According to a directive by the ministry on grading gas stations, all private brands must receive gasoline and CNG from NIORDC's storage units, meaning they would basically offer the same fuel, regardless of facilities and services.

The question is whether gas stations, or at least top-tier brands, will be allowed to charge extra, considering that they cannot differentiate themselves by offering better quality fuel.

In other words, the ministry is only privatizing the final leg of fuel supply, not making way for real competition by holding sway over imports and production.