Iran says it has discovered a new oil field containing 53 billion barrels of crude oil, enough to increase its proven reserves by one-third.
President Hassan Rouhani made the announcement last weekend, prompting news reports to focus on the immense difficulties Iran has faced in trying to sell its oil against the weight of U.S. sanctions.
“I am telling the White House that in the days when you sanctioned the sale of Iranian oil, the country’s workers and engineers were able to discover 53 billion barrels of oil,” Rouhani said, according to the semi-official Fars news agency.
“Iran currently has the world’s fourth-largest proven deposits of crude oil and the world’s second-largest deposits of natural gas. It shares a massive offshore field in the Persian Gulf with Qatar,” The Associated Press notes. “The new oil field could become Iran’s second-largest field, after one containing 65 billion barrels in Ahvaz. The field is 2,400 square kilometres, with the deposit some 80 metres deep, according to the semi-official Tasnim news agency.”
AP explains that the term “proven reserves” refers to crude oil that is considered economically feasible to extract. “Figures can vary wildly by country due to differing standards, though it remains a yardstick of comparison among oil-producing nations.”