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Iran starts refining its crude oil in Venezuela: Oil minister

A first oil refinery processing Iranian crude oil outside of the country has started operations, according to a statement by the Iranian Oil Minister Javad Owji who says the project in Venezuela will be replicated in other parts of the world.

Owji said on Sunday that Iran had started processing some 100,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude produced in Iranian oilfields in Venezuela’s El Palito refinery.

He said the project had come to fruition thanks to efforts by the Iranian Oil Ministry’s fuel department the NIORDC.

“This was an old dream that came true … this effort saw its starting point in Venezuela and plans are in place to replicate the project in other regions,” the minister was quoted as saying by the official IRNA news agency.

El Palito is located in central Venezuela. The NIORDC signed a $116 million contract with Venezuelan state oil firm PDVSA in May to repair and expand the refinery.

Iran and Venezuela have sought to expand their economic and energy ties in recent years in a bid to counter the American sanctions that have targeted their crude oil exports.

Iran has in the past supplied gasoline, condensate, refinery parts and technical assistance to Venezuela in return for shipments of heavy oil from the country.

That comes as the NIORDC has reportedly been awarded a contract to start works in Venezuela’s largest refinery the Paraguana.

Reports have also suggested that the Iranian Oil Ministry is considering similar projects in other Latin American countries, including in Nicaragua.

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