TEHRAN, Dec 26 (Reuters) - Iran signed an agreement with Afghanistan on Monday to export one million tons per year of gasoil, gasoline and jet fuel to the neighbouring country starting next year, the official IRNA news agency reported.
The Islamic state, which was long dependent on imported gasoline for 30 to 40 percent of its consumption, said last year it had started exporting the fuel. The sales were confirmed to Reuters by trade sources, but they did not know at the time where the cargoes were being exported.
“Iran has exported gasoil to Afghanistan over the past years but the export of gasoline and jet fuel will begin next year,” IRNA quoted Ali Reza Zeighami, managing director of the National Iranian Refining and Oil Products Distribution Company, as saying.
Zeighami said the price of the products will be determined based on International prices.
In April, trade sources said Iran had struck a deal to sell gasoline to Iraq but that the rare cargo did not mean the Islamic Republic had became a net exporter and free from its dependence on gasoline imports.
Shipping data obtained by Reuters in November showed Iran’s October gasoline imports rose more than 21 percent to 63,279 barrels per day from 51,986 bpd in September.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Wednesday his country would become a major gasoline exporter by 2013, despite the West’s toughest-ever sanctions on the Islamic state.
The sanctions have targeted a vulnerability caused by Iran’s lack of refining capacity, and many foreign companies have been forced to withdraw from Iran’s energy sector.
The United States, Britain and Canada announced new measures against Iran’s energy and financial sectors last month and the European Union is considering a ban -- already in place in the United States -- on imports of Iranian oil.
The sanctions follow a report by the U.N. nuclear watchdog in November linking Tehran to the development of a nuclear weapon. Iran denies this, insisting its nuclear programme is aimed at generating electricity.
Iran, the world’s fifth-largest oil producer, has estimated its reserves at 150 billion barrels of oil and 33 trillion cubic meters of gas.
Reporting By Mitra Amiri; Editing by Dan Grebler