Oil smuggling costs Iran ‘billions of dollars’

Iran loses more than a billion dollars a year because petrol and refined oil products are smuggled to neighbouring countries, a senior police official was quoted as saying on Monday.

“Every year, 1,8-billion litres of refined oil products worth 10,8-billion rials [$1,18-billion] are smuggled abroad,” press reports quoted General Ali Soltani, director of the campaign against economic crimes, as saying.

“Last year we seized more than 50-million litres of oil products, which is equal to only 10 days of the trafficked amount,” he said, adding that some five million litres of oil products — mainly petrol — were smuggled every day to Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and Turkey.

The world’s fourth-largest crude producer, Iran suffers a chronic shortage of petrol and imports a significant amount of its increasing domestic needs.

Iranians use 72-million litres of petrol daily on average, although the country’s refineries can produce only 42-million litres.

Pump prices are 800 rials a litre ($0,09), while one litre fetches more than one dollar in neighbouring states.

The government has decided to introduce rationing and dual-pricing of petrol in order to control consumption and smuggling.

This year Iran will spend an extra $5-billion importing petrol and other refined petroleum products.

Under the new measures, private cars and taxis would daily receive three litres and 30 litres respectively at a subsidised price, the head of the parliamentary energy commission, Kamal Daneshyar, said.

These figures have not yet been confirmed by the government.

“We have made a proposal to the government, which must soon make a decision,” said Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh, head of the Iranian Refining and Oil Derivative Distribution Company. — AFP

Make sense of your world

Subscribe to Mail & Guardian at R10/mth for the first three months. Cancel anytime.

Subscribers get access to all our best journalism, subscriber-only newsletters, events and a weekly cryptic crossword.

Related stories


Already a subscriber? Sign in here


Latest stories

Kidnapping in Mayfair: Claims and counterclaims

More revelations in multimillion-rand Mayfair kidnapping

Bad data: No, VW Polo drivers aren’t the worst in...

The headlines vilifying one group of drivers miss the point about an important road safety report.

A BIG deal: Universal income support could resuscitate South Africa’s...

A basic income grant could add 0.5% to GDP growth by 2025, according to a report commissioned by the National Economic Development and Labour Council.

Public protector to investigate president

ANC MP Mervyn Dirks has asked Busisiwe Mkhwebane to investigate Ramaphosa’s ‘failure to report corruption’

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…