Teheran, Feb 19: Newly discovered oil wells and gas fields may give a fresh impetus to the economy of Iran, which is registering a timid recovery after years of crisis, thanks to the partial cancellation of sanctions in the wake of the nuclear deal.
The energy sector has a strategic importance for the Islamic Republic, thanks to the recent trade agreements (worth billions of dollars) concluded with Chinese and Russian industry giants.
According to reports Seyyed Saleh Hendi, head of the exploration of the Iranian State Oil Company (NIOC), a dozen new fields with a total reserve of 30 billion barrels have been identified. Of these, at least 4.7 billion barrels are easily extractable.
The new fields – which emerged in recent years of studies and research - are not limited to oil but also relate to natural gas: for senior Iranian officials, there would be up to 128 thousand billion cubic meters of newly discovered gas. “In the future, you will not find big deposits like Yadavaran and Azadegan - added Hendi - but we’ll have to get used to discovering smaller fields” but which are still able to generate income.
With 157 billion barrels, the Islamic Republic is the third country in the world for oil reserves and the most important with regard to natural gas. If united, Iran would become home to the world’s most important reserves in the hydrocarbon sector. Daily production is around four million barrels per day, of which 1.5 used for internal use.
Meanwhile, Iran’s Oil Ministry announced that for next year [following the local calendar, which runs from March 21, 2017, to 20 March 2018] exports of oil and gas will touch 50 billion US dollars. A figure calculated on the basis of an average daily price of crude oil at 55 dollars a barrel.
In a statement the Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh says that the daily exports (oil and gas) are around 2.8 million barrels; a volume, he added, equivalent to the period before Western sanctions. Later this year (according to the Iranian calendar) the goal is to produce 40 billion as a total figure of revenues from exports. “We used to sell crude oil to four or five countries - the Minister added - and now our market has expanded and the number has increased significantly.”
Iran in recent months has opened to foreign investors, who were able to participate in the first auction involving the newly discovered deposits. The auction took place on 15th February.