Iran and Spain are discussing a plan to build a joint oil refinery, which will be finally owned by Iran, at the Gibraltar Strait.
The announcement was made by the Spanish foreign minister on Monday, just two days after sanctions against Islamic Republic were lifted, Reuters reported.
Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo said he hoped the planned refinery, which would be built in the southern port city of Algeciras with local Spanish firms, would be the first of many deals between the two countries in the post-sanctions era.
On Saturday, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and European Union’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, announced during a joint press conference in Vienna the beginning of the implementation of a nuclear deal reached by Iran and six world powers in the Austrian capital, Vienna, last July. The announcement came after the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) released its latest report confirming Tehran’s compliance with its commitment as per the nuclear agreement, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
According to a statement read out by Zarif and Mogherini, ‘UN sanctions related to Iran’s nuclear programme are lifted. United Nations Security Council resolution 2231 (2015), which endorsed the JCPOA, will from now onwards, together with the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), be the sole international legal framework related to Iran’s nuclear activities, terminating provisions of resolutions 1696 (2006), 1737 (2007), 1747 (2007), 1803 (2008), 1835 (2008), 1929 (2010) and 2224 (2015).’
Margallo told reporters in Brussels that the Iranian energy industry needs restructuring after its return to the international economy, adding that Spain was well placed to assist.
‘What we see here is a new chance for the region to stabilize and for our companies to secure good business opportunities,’ Margallo said before a meeting of EU foreign ministers, adding, ‘Our political relationship with Iran is very good because we moved faster than other countries and are now very well placed for future business.’
The Spanish minister also stated that an Iranian refinery in Algeciras would boost employment in a region that has the highest unemployment rate in Spain.
Last November, Abbas Kazemi, deputy oil minister and managing director of the National Iranian Oil Refining and Distribution Company (NIORDC), was quoted by Iranian media as saying that the country was mulling a plan to build or buy refineries in other countries in order to guarantee long-term sale of its crude oil.
He noted that investing in overseas refineries is one of the most common ways used by oil producing countries to boost crude exports, saying, “Therefore, the Iranian Oil Ministry is planning to invest in refineries in countries whose crude oil is being supplied by Iran.”
At present, some littoral states of the Persian Gulf, which are among world’s major oil exporters, own a remarkable number of oil refineries in American, European and Asian countries, which has greatly increased their clout in global energy markets.
Iran has likewise received proposals for buying or building overseas refineries in Asian, European, African and American countries, none of which has been finalized yet.