News ID: 127175
Published: 0721 GMT September 18, 2015

South Africa to build refinery for Iran crude

South Africa to build refinery for Iran crude

South Africa plans to build an oil refinery which will use Iranian crude, said Deputy Oil Minister Thembisile Majola.

South African oil company officials will hold meetings with their Iranian counterpart in October to discuss this as well as the resumption of crude imports, Reuters on Thursday quoted her as saying.

"There is a visit that has already been scheduled for them to come to South Africa in October and they will get the opportunity to speak to the oil companies," she said.

South Africa relied on Iran as the biggest supplier of oil before the sanctions on Tehran in 2012 dried up exports of about 380,000 barrels per day to the continent's most industrialized nation and its second largest crude importer.

Majola said state-owned PetroSA had agreed to help Tehran build a gas-to-liquid refinery in Mossel Bay that will use Iranian crude.

"We are looking to building a refinery and we have already begun discussions in terms of having a partnership," Reuters quoted her as saying.

On Wednesday, an Iranian oil official said Iran and South Africa have signed an initial document for crude oil sales, pending the lifting of sanctions on Tehran for exports to resume.

National Iranian Oil Company's (NIOC) Director for International Affairs Mohsen Qamsari said South Africa is ahead of other countries in the race to resume oil imports from Iran.

"An initial document was signed by the two sides but given that South Africa's crude oil import terminals belong to international companies such as Shell, exports are not possible for now because of sanctions," he said.

Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane has said South Africa had never agreed with sanctions against Iran and that its oil refiners had suffered from a ban on crude exports from the Islamic Republic.

She visited Tehran in May on the heels of South African Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson who traveled to the Islamic Republic a month earlier to discuss oil purchases and participation in Iran's energy projects.

   
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