South Korean contractor signs Iran refinery deal

08 August 2017

Tehran has been seeking investment to upgrade ageing refineries

South Korea’s SK Engineering & Construction (E&C) has signed a $1.6bn deal to upgrade the 110,000 barrel-a-day (b/d) Tabriz Refinery in northern Iran.

The work, which is set for completion 36 months after the project breaks ground, involves renovating the refinery, which was built in 1976.

A consortium of SK E&C and Iran’s Oil Design Construction Company are responsible for financing and implementing the refinery scheme, which is intended to boost its gasoline and diesel production capacity.

Tabriz refinery actual average production, 2015/16
ProductProduction rate (cm/d)
Gas oil6,000
Fuel oil3,400
cm/d=Cubic metres a day; LPG=Liquified petroleum gas. Source: NIORDC

Following the lifting of nuclear-related sanctions, Iran is seeking up to $14bn of investment in its refining sector in order to upgrade ageing refineries.

The Islamic Republic currently has a refining capacity of about 1.99 million b/d. By 2021, Iran aims to raise this to 3 million b/d.

The Tabriz refinery upgrade was included in a memorandum of understanding signed in 2016 by Italy’s Saipem concerning cooperation in energy projects in Iran.

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