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Iran halts gasoil exports amid surge in demand in electricity sector

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Iran stops exports of gasoil as demand in power plants reached record levels.

A National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) official says gasoil exports from the country have stopped amid a surge in demand for the fuel in power plants where natural gas supplies have dwindled during the current cold season.

NIOC’s representative to the Iranian energy bourse Amir Hossein Tebyanian said on Thursday that gas oil shipments were no longer on offer for sales to foreign buyers despite growing number of bids submitted to the exchange market in recent weeks.

“Considering the domestic demand for liquid fuel needed in power plants, gasoil is currently unavailable in the (Iranian) energy exchange,” said Tebyanian.

The Oil Ministry official said that resuming gasoil exports from Iran will take months as he insisted that shipments will be on offer again once natural gas consumption in the household sector drops and power plants can burn gas to generate electricity.

The Iranian government has relied heavily on exports of gasoline and gasoil in recent years to offset American sanctions targeting its direct crude exports.

Reports have suggested that gasoil exports have generated up to $250 million in monthly revenues for the NIOC.

The growth in gasoil exports has been made possible by Iran’s extensive plans to develop its natural gas sector in recent years as the country has managed to connect many power plants to the nationwide gas pipeline network.

Those projects have led to a massive increase in natural gas production from the South Pars, the largest gas field in the world which straddles the maritime border between Iran and Qatar in the Persian Gulf.

Gas demand in the Iranian household sector rose to an all-time record of nearly 700 million cubic meters on January 23, according to statements by Oil Ministry officials.

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