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Iran touts domestic oil, gas abilities

May 22, 2012 at 8:30 AM

TEHRAN, May 22 (UPI) -- Iran has set a record for the construction of refineries needed for its oil and natural gas industry despite internationals sanctions, a minister said.

A series of U.S. and European sanctions target Iran's energy sector. Tehran is suspected of financing a controversial nuclear program through oil and natural gas revenue. The Iranian government maintains its nuclear program is peaceful, however.

Iranian Oil Minister Rostam Qassemi said a series of petrochemical projects were inaugurated near the southern port city of Bandar-e Mahshahr. A refinery tied to the giant South Pars natural gas field, he added, is about 62-percent finished. Development there was characterized as "desirable and good" in the face of sanctions pressure.

"Iran has set a record in building refineries by reliance on the Iranian [experts]," he was quoted by the semi-official Fars News Agency as saying.

Tehran last month claimed it signed a $2.1 billion deal with an unidentified Spanish entity for the manufacturing of equipment for the Iranian oil and gas industry,

Qassemi early this year said Iran was working to cut its dependence on foreign suppliers for its oil and natural gas industry in an effort to become self-sufficient.

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