Iran’s Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zangeneh says a new oil field discovered in southwest Khuzestan Province is the country’s second largest reservoir.
The Namavaran oil field discovered by Iranian experts has an estimated 53 billion barrels of reserves, Zangeneh said on Monday. Iran’s largest oil field contains 65 billion barrels and is located in in Ahvaz.
According to Zangeneh, exploration started at the site in 2016, with 31 billion barrels previously discovered. The newly-discovered field adds 22.2 billion barrels to the country’s estimated crude reserves.
The new field will also add 2.2 billion barrels of oil to Iran’s production capacity with the current technology which allows for a ten percent recovery rate.
President Hassan Rouhani announced the major discovery on Sunday, calling it “a small gift by the government to the people of Iran.”
The oil layer is about 3.1 kilometers deep, with an average thickness of 80 meters, spanning 2,400 square kilometers from Bostan to Omidiyeh, the president said.
Zangeneh said it could potentially be expanded to southwest and east through further exploration.
President Rouhani said Sunday the discovery had been made despite US hostilities which have mainly targeted Iran’s oil sector.
“Today we are announcing to the US that we are a rich country and despite your enmity and tyrannical sanctions, the Iranian oil industry’s workers and engineers have succeeded to discover this vast oil field,” Rouhani added.
It’s been one year-and-a-half since President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the nuclear deal with Iran and embarked on a policy of “maximum pressure.”
The Trump administration reckoned that the campaign would send Iran’s economy into a “death spiral,” leaving Tehran with the choice to either surrender or collapse.
“Neither of these predictions came to pass,” US news publication Foreign Policy wrote last week. “Rather, Iran now enters its second year under maximum pressure strikingly confident in its economic stability and regional position,” it added.
According to the magazine, “the Iranian economy stays afloat in part because it is diversified—a trait that Washington often overlooks.”
Iran is a founding member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and sits on what were already the world’s fourth-biggest oil reserves and second-largest gas reserves.
Touching on OPEC’s upcoming meeting next month, Zangeneh said the oil-producing organization is expected to further reduce production.