Holding rounds of negotiations with Europe, Iran is finalizing plans to construct oil refineries in European countries.
According to a source familiar with the matter, the two sides have decided to process the Iranian oil and use it in the countries in which the refineries are to be built.
"At present, some of the negotiations have been finalized and some of the European sides have undertaken to start building refining units in partnership with Iran," the source said.
Iranian officials say refineries overseas would entail long-term contracts which would guarantee steady supplies and provide buffer against market hiccups.
Iran’s crude oil exports were a regular fixture for European refineries before Western sanctions on the country in 2012 brought them to a virtual halt.
"If this plan comes to fruition, we will definitely no longer see oil sanctions and will refine our oil in other countries without any worries," the official said.
Similar plans are in the works for Asia and South America and "serious negotiations" are underway with a number of countries, including India, Brazil and Indonesia, the official added.
According to the informed source, Iran planned to build nine oil refineries in Asia and Europe with the help of private partners before sanctions brought them to a halt.
European oil buyers have held talks with National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) officials in Europe and Tehran over the past year in anticipation of sanctions being lifted.
Asian customers have continued to lift limited amounts of Iranian oil under a preliminary nuclear agreement which allows 1 million barrels per day (bpd) of sales.
Iran used to sell about 2.3 million bpd before the sanctions. The country is poised to return to pre-sanction export levels, with oil officials saying Tehran would be able to ramp up output by 500,000 bpd a day after sanctions are lifted and another 500,000 bpd within six months.