0248 GMT February 18, 2019
Iran and South Korea signed a €1.6-billion memorandum of understanding (MoU) to process fuel oil at a refinery in the northwestern city of Tabriz into value-added products.
The deal was inked between Iran's Oil Design and Construction Company (ODCC) as the employer and SK Engineering and Construction (SKEC) as the project operator to upgrade Tabriz Oil Refinery.
Senior Iranian Oil Ministry officials and lawmakers as well as South Korea's parliament speaker attended the signing ceremony.
Head of Tabriz Oil Refinery told Iran Daily that the two sides have agreed to cooperate based on a specific strategy aimed at financing the project and paving the ground for its implementation.
Gholamreza Baqeri Dizaj further said that the project will become operational in four years. He added that due to environmental concerns, the refinery's capacity will remain unchanged.
He noted that the facility seeks to keep up with modern technology and raise the quality of its products to Euro 5 standard.
Baqeri Dizaj pointed to lowering the use of fuel oil as among the objectives pursued by the refinery.
He described Tabriz Refinery as one of Iran's leading refineries noting the facility seeks to conform to the latest international standards to take part in the global markets.
Deputy Oil Minister Abbas Kazemi, who attended the ceremony, said Tehran and Seoul have been cooperating in the oil sector for 55 years. "About half a century ago, Iran set up a refinery in South Korea. South Korean companies also had good cooperation with Iran in oil projects after the 1979 Islamic Revolution," he said.
The Tabriz oil processing plant, built in 1976, is among the Iranian refineries in dire need of upgrade and modernization.
Tabriz Refinery operates with a capacity of 110,000 barrels per day, turning crude oil to liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), gasoline and diesel.