Economy
Wed, Jul 04, 2007
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Gasoline Quota Will Change
In Two Months
Studies on 40 Oil Blocks Complete
Customs Seizes Contraband Worth Rls4.5b
Statoil, Norsk Hydro
To Merge Offices
Thai Banking Cooperation Reviewed
Sistan-Baluchestan Tops Mining Development
1,300 Projects Planned in Kermanshah
26% Rise in Maize Production
250% Increase
In 10 Yrs
250% Increase
In 10 Yrs

Gasoline Quota Will Change
In Two Months
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Iran still spends $5 billion-$8 billion annually on gasoline imports due to a lack of refineries and a
preference for oil export.
Rapporteur of the Majlis Energy Committee here Tuesday announced that the government would make changes in gasoline rationing and provide motorists and motorcyclists with the commodity according to their actual needs within the next two months.
Seyyed Emad Hosseini told PIN that Majlis insisted on the supply of surplus gasoline and the government needed to make it available.
Critics argue that the government must also supply, as scheduled, additional quotas at higher rates for people who need cars for their jobs and at the same time increase public transportation fleet.
The lawmaker added the advantages of rationing outnumbered the disadvantages, referring to reduction in air pollution, traffic congestion and gasoline consumption as the main benefits of the newly enforced law.
Last Wednesday, Iran, one of the world’s largest oil producers, started rationing gasoline nationwide and the Oil Ministry allocated each private car 100 liters per month at $0.10 per liter for regular and $0.15 for premium gasoline.
The quota for governmental cars has been put at 300 liters per month and for taxis at 800 liters.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called the gasoline rationing a major decision. He made the statement in a gathering of executive officials and said the plan’s success depended on national willpower.
Ahmadinejad urged the critics to consider national interests to other issues.
He underlined that executive officials needed to make every endeavor to prevent the plan from putting people under pressure.
Majlis Speaker Gholam-Ali Haddad Adel, for his part, expressed his satisfaction with the enforcement of gasoline rationing plan, terming it as a major measure that had been so far successful.
People had been suffering for heavy traffic for years, said the speaker, adding the problem would be solved if the gasoline rationing project worked.
Although Iran is a leading OPEC member and the world’s fourth biggest oil producer with a daily oil production of 4.2 million barrels, the Islamic state still spends $5 billion-$8 billion annually on gasoline imports due to a lack of refineries and a preference for oil export.
Under the new plan, gasoline is only supplied through the smart card, an initiative by President Ahmadinejad to stop lavish fuel consumption--73 million liters daily--by over seven million cars nationwide

Studies on 40 Oil Blocks Complete
Director of National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) for exploration affairs Tuesday announced that the studies on 40 new sites were finalized and the company would increase its rigs to eight to explore the newly identified areas.
Seyyed Mahmoud Mohaddes told PIN, “In line with the Fourth Five-Year Development Plan (2005-2010), tests were conducted on 40 locations and were identified and we are waiting for drilling platforms.
“To speed up the exploration drilling, we decided to increase the rigs from the current six to eight by the end of the (Iranian) year (March 20, 2008).“
The official said the duration of exploration activities in the 40 blocks would be reduced from 6-7 years to about four years when the company received the two new oil drilling rigs. He added three rigs were now conducting exploration drilling operations in Mehr, Kouhdasht, and Tossan blocks.
Mohaddes said the reserves of new gas field of southern Fars province would be announced in the near future. He added the newly explored field was undergoing the last stage of test that would help determine its deposits.
Drilling operations in the field had ended, said the official, adding the field, located in the town of Qir, was rich in resources.
Mohaddes added the exploration operations in the new gas field started 18 months ago.
Meanwhile, Managing Director of NIOC Gholam-Hossein Nozari confirmed the new gas reserves in Fars. “Geological data show that there are gas deposits in the two cities of Larestan and Fassa in Fars province,“ he said.
He said geological and seismographic studies proved that the province had the desirable capacity to meet domestic gas demand. “We have to keep on drilling in Larestan and Fassa,“ said Nozari, adding, “Fars province is currently producing 120 million cubic meters of gas from Aghar, Dalan, and Parsian fields, having the potential to turn into a hub for exports of Iran’s gas.“
The official added, “We are conducting further studies on other cities of Fars province to discover more hydrocarbon reserves and to find the actual potential of the province through speedy seismographic survey.“
According to Nozari, the country is presently producing 4.2 million barrels of oil per day and the daily gas output amounts to about 300 million cubic meters.

Customs Seizes Contraband Worth Rls4.5b
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The contraband includes cigarettes, cloth, garments and iron.
Deputy persecutor general of Tehran on Tuesday revealed that contraband worth 4.5 billon rials had been confiscated from two heavy vehicles in Tehran.
Tarahhom Asadian said that the contraband includes cigarettes, cloth, garments and iron, ISNA wrote.
Three persons have been arrested in this connection, the official added.
He said that Iran’s Customs Administration has also demanded cash fine as penalty.
Asadian explained that the police forces became suspicious when the trailer and truck were being unloaded and their goods were being transferred to a warehouse. Following investigations, they found out that the goods were smuggled, the official concluded.

Statoil, Norsk Hydro
To Merge Offices
The offices of Norwegian companies Statoil and Norsk Hydro in Iran will be merged on October 1.
Following the merger between Statoil and Norsk Hydro companies in Norway, their offices in Iran will be merged under the new name of StatoilHydro, PIN reported.
The new managing director of StatoilHydro is scheduled to arrive in Iran in mid-September and officially assume office on Oct. 1.
Statoil is now working in the offshore section of phases 6-8 of South Pars gas field development project in Iran and Hydro is involved in exploration of Anaran and Khorramabad blocks. A tie-up between Statoil ASA (STO) and Norsk Hydro’s ASA (NHY) oil and gas assets was approved by Norway’s parliament, taking the deal another step towards its planned October 1 completion.
“The merger was passed by a large majority,“ a spokesman for the parliament said.
The merger of around $30 billion was recommended to parliament earlier this year by the Norwegian government’s energy and environment committee, which had studied its likely impact on Norway’s oil and gas industry.
The new company, which will initially be called StatoilHydro, will be the world’s biggest offshore oil and gas producer and has already received the necessary approvals from the European Union’s competition authority as well as the US Securities and Exchange Commission.
The Norwegian state will have a stake of around 62.5 percent in the new company, and has said it intends to raise this stake to 67 percent over time.
This would be in accordance with the Norwegian parliament’s decision in 2001 that the state’s holding in Statoil should be at least 67 percent, which was confirmed in a December 2006 White Paper.
Under the deal, shareholders in Norsk Hydro will receive 0.8622 shares in the merged company for every Norsk Hydro share, as compensation for the transfer of the company’s oil and gas business.

Thai Banking Cooperation Reviewed
Iran’s Ambassador to Bangkok Mohsen Pak-Ayeen and Director General of Thailand’s Government Savings Bank (GSB) Goanpot Asvinvichit in Bangkok on Tuesday discussed ways to bolster bilateral cooperation in various banking fields.
The Thai official said promotion of banking cooperation would support economic exchanges between the two countries, IRNA reported.
Iran and Thailand can boost economic cooperation by exchanging visits by banking delegations and becoming acquainted with the potentials of the two countries, he added.
He said facilitating credit exchanges would support Iranian and Thai businessmen.
Asvinvichit called for implementing joint projects with Iran.
Pak-Ayeen, for his part, said Iran and Thailand enjoy growing economic cooperation and added that mutual cooperation in international banking foundations would be effective in materializing the economic goals of the two sides.
He stated that commercial exchanges between Tehran and Bangkok had a 72-percent growth in 2006 which proves the willingness of private sectors to expand trade activities.

Sistan-Baluchestan Tops Mining Development
Sistan-Baluchestan province ranked first nationwide in terms of mining development in the year to March 2007, witnessing a 450-percent growth compared with the figure for the previous year.
Announcing this, head of the provincial Industries and Mines Department explained that identification of numerous layers of minerals reveals the high potential of this southeastern province in the mining sector, IRNA reported.
Javad Namavar-Jahromi said that discovery of rich mineral reserves including antimony, copper, granite, kaolin, decorative stones and construction materials confirmed this claim.
Presently 35-carat antimony is extracted from one of the provincial mines in Sefidabeh, while the Chinese product has 3-carat antimony, he compared.
Targeted exploration of mining potentials can pave the way for sustainable employment across the province, he commented.
He noted that 110 exploration permits have been issued, creating 330 new jobs.
In addition, he said 43 exploitation permits involving an investment of over 151 billion rials have been issued. This, he pointed out, will create 407 jobs.
Namavar-Jahromi described the high costs of making mines operational as one of the main problems in the sector. Government support for establishing infrastructures including road, electricity, telecommunication and water network, creating sustainable security in mining areas and preparing the ground for export of minerals can significantly help in the development of this sector, he contended.
He called shortage of liquidity in private sector as the other challenge encountered in mining projects.
He noted, “Gold mines have so far been identified in three different regions of the province including Zand Bezman Mountain.“ In spite of the value-added of this precious ore and the good market for it, the private sector has not shown any interest in investing in the sector, he regretted.

1,300 Projects Planned in Kermanshah
Kermanshah Industries and Mines Department has issued construction permits for 1,300 industrial projects, of which 300 are being implemented, announced the head of the department.
Speaking to IRNA, Kiomars Foroutani predicted that upon completion of the 300 projects, some 14,000 new jobs will be created.
The official said that about 100 projects including Kord Tile Factory, Kermanshah Petrochemical Complex and Bisotoun Sugar Factory would be implemented in the year to March 2008.
He explained that since Kermanshah is an agricultural hub, most of the projects pertain to food industries.
In addition, he said that the department has issued permits for 96 projects in the mining sector including bitumen, decorative stones and limestone. Presently 76 mines are operational across the province, providing job opportunities for 1,100 people, he added.
He recalled that industries and mining sector accounted for 50 percent of projects of small agencies with quick economic returns in the year to March 2007. He put the investments in such projects at 344 billon rials. Of the figure, 290 billion rials has been approved by agent banks, he concluded.

26% Rise in Maize Production
Maize production reached 2.4 million tons in the year to March 2007, compared to 1.9 million tons in the year to March 2005, indicating an increase of 26 percent, deputy agricultural jihad minister said.
Mohammadreza Jahansouz further noted that the ministry has a comprehensive program to procure maize seed, adding the problems would be solved in the year to March 2008, Fars reported.
He noted that the poultry industry needs 3.75 million tons of maize for feedstock supply annually. Given that the country’s total demand stands at four million tons of maize annually, some 1.6 million tons of maize should be imported, he said.
He predicted that maize production would exceed 2.4 million tons in the year to March 2008, adding the country would achieve self-sufficiency in maize by the end of the Fourth Development Plan (2005-2010).
Jahansouz recalled that maize has been cultivated in the country for less than forty years.
He continued that maize production has increased from 25,000 tons in 1979 to 2.4 million tons in the year to March 2007--a 91-fold growth. The total area under maize cultivation also rose from 10,000 hectares in 1979 to 320,000 hectares in the year to March 2007--a 31-fold rise, he added.
This shows that maize production efficiency has grown three times, he concluded.
Yield per hectare of maize in Iran is much higher than the international level.
Iranian farmers harvest 6.7 tons per hectare of maize, whereas the international standard is 4.4 tons. Maize production comes in almost four seasons in Iran given the country’s diverse climatic conditions.

250% Increase
In 10 Yrs
250% Increase
In 10 Yrs
Fresh water production has increased by 250 percent in Kish Island in the past 10 years.
According to the public relations office of Kish Free Trade Zone Organization, average daily production of drinking water was 4,117 cubic meters in 1997 but the figure increased to 14,604 cubic meters in the year to March 2007, IRNA wrote.
Total volume of drinking water produced by desalination plants through RO and MED systems reached 5.33 million cubic meters in the year to March 2007 while it was 4.57 million cubic meters in the previous year.
The report said that per capita consumption of fresh water was 256 cubic meters in Kish against the national figure of 68 cubic meters in the year to March 2007.
The Pearl of the Persian Gulf, Kish Island is undoubtedly one of Iran’s most attractive tourist sites. The resort island, lapped by the sheltered waters of coral-edged lagoons, is also the most up-to-date model of urban development in Iran.
Measuring 91.5 sq. km, the island is situated 18 kilometers south of Iran’s southern coast and about 300 kilometers from the port city of Bandar Abbas.
Kish is almost elliptical with an east-west length of 13 kilometers, and a 7-kilometer width running north to south.
The Island’s highest point is its eastern part which rises about 45 meters above the sea level.
Its relative height is 32 meters, which means only a 13 meters difference from its highest point.
Kish is hot and humid in summer but has a very mild weather for at least six months of the year.