(MENAFN - AzerNews) By Kamila Aliyeva
Uzbekistan expressed interest in purchasing crude oil from Iran.
This was stated by Iran's Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zanganeh who also informed that the sides continue negotiations in this area, Iranian media outlets reported.
Uzbek oil officials are discussing imports from Iran with the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), according to the minister.
The option of exporting Iranian oil to Uzbekistan by rail is being considered, he said.
'Uzbekistan's oil production is limited. Therefore, it has to import this strategic product. Given that Uzbekistan has no access to sea, exports to the country need to be carried out through land and probably by rail. Given that Uzbekistan has no access to sea, exports to the country need to be carried out through land and probably by rail, Zanganeh said.
During the visit, a large delegation from Uzbekistan led by Foreign Minister Abdulazim Kamilov held talks on various areas of cooperation with Iran.
In particular, the chairman of the board of Uzbekneftegaz JSC Alisher Sultanov discussed the issues of interaction in the fuel and energy area with the heads of the Oil Ministry.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said at a meeting with Uzbek Foreign Minister that the necessary conditions for intensifying ties between Tehran and Tashkent have been prepared in all directions.
He added that Iran is fully ready to meet the energy needs of Uzbekistan.
Iran's current oil export capacity stands at about 2.6 million barrels per day most of which is shipped to Asia, a quarter to Europe and the rest to the other markets.
Uzbekistan is rich in hydrocarbon resources, and about 60 percent of its territory possesses potential oil and gas reserves. However, the supplies no longer meet the demand for oil products in the country.Oil production drop in the last years has resulted in only 60 percent operation of its full refining capacity.
Moreover, oil production in the country is forecasted to further decline. As a result,Uzbekistan has turned from a net exporter into a net import of crude oil to process it in its refineries.
While oil-processing capacity of Uzbekistan will remain within the same range of 225,000 and 230,000bbl/dayup until 2024, the volume of the refined oil products is expected to decline from 75,640bbl/dayto 69,050bbl/dayby 2024.Therefore, Uzbekistan will have to increase the volume of crude oil imports in the near future from Russia, Kazakhstan and now Iran if it decides to take the advantage of its oil refining capacity.
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