Bijan Namdar Zanganeh did not give figures but said exports of crude had recently risen “significantly” despite tough sanctions that were imposed since 2018, when the administration of former US president Donald Trump withdrew from a nuclear pact, Reuters reported.
“We set the highest record of exports of refined products in the history of the oil industry during the sanctions period,” the minister said.
Iranian oil exports were as high as 2.8 million barrels per day (mbd) in 2018 but fell to 300,000 bpd in 2020, assessments based on tanker tracking show.
Iran has called on the new US administration of President Joseph Biden to return to the 2015 nuclear accord between Iran and world powers, saying Tehran will resume full adherence to the pact that limits its nuclear work if Washington lifts sanctions.
“If the sanctions are lifted, we will return to the market stronger than ever, and faster than expected,” Zanganeh said. “I am not worried about the lost markets.”
Iran has increased exports of oil products in recent years, although products also fall under sanctions.
Unlike crude, where the ultimate buyer is a refinery, diesel and other products can be sold to smaller industrial or residential buyers making sales harder to trace or track.
“The enemy and Trump wanted us to perish and die, our exports to reach zero,” he said, adding “but we are alive and working with more hope to build the country.”
In the past, China, India and South Korea were major buyers of Iranian oil. New Delhi and Seoul have halted purchases and Chinese official data shows limited Iranian imports.
Zanganeh also said on Thursday that the inauguration of the Persian Gulf Bid Boland Gas Refinery symbolizes the failure of the US sanctions and maximum pressure on Iran.
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony of the project, Zanganeh said that the team of former US president Donald Trump thought that with sanctioning Iranian oil and putting Iran under pressure, they can bring the country to its knees, but Iran became stronger.
The minister said despite the fact that investment decreased, no project was stopped for lack of equipment and technology, hoping that all the flares will be turned off before mid-March 2022.
He also said that the revenue of the Persian Gulf Bid Boland Gas Refinery will be $1.5 billion a year.
President Hassan Rouhani inaugurated the Persian Gulf Bid Boland Gas Refinery, the largest in the Middle East and other important oil projects in southern Iran on Thursday.
Persian Gulf Bid Boland Gas Refinery was inaugurated on Thursday after 36 months of work, and with strong support from the Iranian government.
The refinery is aimed at increasing sweet gas production as an alternative fuel to reduce consumption of oil products, creating jobs, and contribute to other petrochemical plants.