“When under threat of sanctions by our enemy, if we control and reduce our domestic consumption of gasoline... we can say that we are self-sufficient in fuel production,” Rouhani said in a televised speech.
Weeks after US President Donald Trump pulled out of an international nuclear deal with Iran and threatened to reimpose sanctions on Iran, the United States told its allies on Tuesday to stop importing Iranian oil as of November.
Iran’s Persian Gulf Star Refinery converts light crude, known as condensate, into gasoline and naphtha. Rouhani said that with the inauguration of the new phase, the refinery would produce 24 million liters of gasoline per day.
“If we can reduce our domestic consumption of 80 million liters of gasoline per day ... we could even export gasoline,” Rouhani said.
“Every phase of Persian Gulf Star Refinery produces 12 million liters of gasoline and I hope we can open the third phase by winter.”
OPEC member Iran has for years struggled to meet its domestic fuel needs due to a lack of refining capacity and international sanctions that limited the supply of spare parts for plant maintenance.
Iran’s Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said the refinery, once fully operational, would produce 36 million liters of gasoline per day.
“With the refinery becoming fully operational, we will have no concerns over sanctions,” Zanganeh said.
Zangeneh added that Iran’s Euro-4 gasoline production stood at merely 3.4 million liters per day in 2013, which surpassed 28 million liters per day in 2017, and would reach 54 million liters per day this calendar year, increasing 14-fold.
The minister said, Iran’s total gasoline production capacity has risen from 59.5 million liters per day to roughly 90 million liters per day.
Khatam al-Anbiya Construction Headquarters, the engineering arm of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), was one of the main contractors of the project.
Reuters, Shana and president.ir contributed to this story.