Iranian President Ebrahim Raeisi is to officially inaugurate a first super heavy oil refinery in Iran on Friday as the country moves ahead with plans to develop its massive petroleum sector despite sanctions imposed by the United States.

The official IRNA news agency said in a Thursday report that Raeisi will open the Qeshm Heavy Oil Refinery on the second day of his provincial tour to the southern Hormozgan region.

It said the refinery had been working on a pilot basis and using a half of its refining capacity in recent years, adding that the facility has now reached its full capacity for processing 70,000 barrels per day of crude.

Iran’s Oil Minister Javad Owji said during a visit to the refinery on Thursday that the facility will fed on super heavy oil from Soroush and Nowruz oilfields in the Persian Gulf.

Owji said private owners of the Qeshm Refinery had provided around $220 million in investment for construction of the refinery and for the supply of machinery and equipment to the facility.

He said the refinery could reach a refining capacity of 100,000 barrels per day within the next three years.

Qeshm in one of the world’s largest islands that is located in the Persian Gulf just few kilometers off the southern Iranian coast.

The area is one of major special economic zones of Iran where regulations are more lax compared to the mainland to encourage more investment in trade and manufacturing activities in the region.

Qeshm Heavy Oil Refinery will become a major supplier of bitumen in Iran as local authorities said the facility will be responsible for one fifth of Iran’s total bitumen exports in the near future.