its first oil products bourse Sunday in a free trade zone
on the Persian Gulf Island of Kish, the country's oil
A statement posted on the ministry's
Web site said 100 tons of polyethylene consignment was
traded at the market's opening on the island, which
houses the offices of about 100 Iranian and foreign
Oil and petrochemical products will
be traded in Iranian Rials, as well as all other hard
currencies, the statement quoted Iranian Oil Minister
Gholam Hossein Nozari as saying. About 20 brokers are
already active in the market, it said.
"The bourse provides an economic
opportunity for Iranians, other countries and foreign
customers," Nozari was quoted as saying.
Iran produces more than 20 million tons
of petrochemical products per year.
Iran has already registered for another oil
bourse, in which it has said it hopes to trade oil in Euros
instead of dollars, to reduce any American influence over
the Islamic Republic's economy.
A bourse official, Mahdi Karbasian, told the
IRNA official news agency that such an oil market would begin
operating within the next year.
While most oil markets are traded in U.S.
dollars, Iran first floated the idea of trading oil in Euros
in the early 2000s during the tenure of reformist president
Mohammad Khatami. It gained new life after the nationalist
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was elected in 2005.
As the fourth-largest oil producer in the
world, Iran has a measure of influence over international
oil markets. The country ranks second for output among OPEC
Countries, and controls about 5 percent of the global oil
Tehran also partially controls the Persian
Gulf's Strait of Hormuz, through which much of the world's
oil supply must pass.