Saturday, June 24, 2006

Gasoline Imports to End

Pretty scary. For Iran. Reuters reports:

Iran will halt gasoline imports from September 23 and start rationing gasoline supplies to motorists because of budget constraints, Iranian Oil Minister Kazem Vaziri-Hamaneh said on Friday.

Parliamentarians in the OPEC producer approved a budget for the year to March 2007 that cut the amount to be spent on gasoline imports to $2.5 billion from $4 billion.
That is pretty strange. Oil prices are at record levels and yet Iran has cash flow problems.This is not going to play well with the citizens Ahmadinejad is trying to pay off with his socialist economic policies.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's populist government, which draws its support from the poor, was faced with an unappetising choice of hiking petrol prices or rationing, both potential sources of social discontent.

"Next week will be time to decide when we start rationing. Because there is no budget for importing gasoline in the second half of the year, naturally imports will be stopped and gasoline will be supplied by rationing," he said on state television.

"With 99 percent certainty there is going to be no dual pricing system, just rationing."

Despite being the second biggest producer in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Iran has relied heavily on gasoline imports for many years.

It lacks refining capacity after directing most of its oil revenues into social spending. It now imports more than 40 percent of its 70 million litters per day (440,000 barrels per day) of gasoline consumption.
You know the whole rotten mess in Iran could come down with a push once cold weather hits. OTOH for various reasons America has not built a new refinery for 30 years. Maybe there is a lesson here.

Update: 25 June '06 0344z

Some other articles on the issue:

Trade Arabia

Regime Change Iran has a lot on the Iranian economic troubles and a little on the gasoline problem.

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mobile mineral said...

It is kind of funny that Venezuela is apparently in the same position. Having to import oil.

James said...

It's all of the black budget spending on Nukes and military missle development, etc., that is the real culprit.