Iranian Oil Ministry claims huge Caspian gas find

Rostam Qasemi says a new 50 million tcf field has been discovered

The new find adds 1.4 trillion cum to Iran's claimed 11 trillion cu m located in the Caspian Sea to date. GETTY IMAGES
The new find adds 1.4 trillion cum to Iran's claimed 11 trillion cu m located in the Caspian Sea to date. GETTY IMAGES

 Iran’s Oil Minister has claimed Iran has found a huge new gas field in the Caspian Sea.

Rostam Qasemi, a former Revolutionary Guard with an impatient attitude to foreign oil companies, reportedly told a news conference in Tehran that a field containing over 50 trillion cubic feet has been identified in some 700 meters of water, according to Shana, the Oil Ministry’s news website.

Qzasemi says the reservoir is 2,400 metres under the sea bed and lies entirely within Iranian territorial waters. The location is unspecified.

A field had been previously identified at the site, but the announcement means it is several times larger than previous estimates.

Iran has a total of 29.6 trillion cubic metres of natural gas reserves, according to BP’s Annual Statistical Review 2011. A Mehr news agency report says Iran has 11 trillion metres of proven reserves in the Caspian.

“According to Qasemi discovery of the gas reservoir in Caspian Sea, which is more complicated in comparison to those in the Persian Gulf and Oman Sea, was the result of several years’ efforts by the Iran’s oil industry’s experts.“

According to the Shana report, Qasemi’s remarks included a claim that only a few countries have “the in-depth drilling technology in finding the gas field” required to make the discovery, and that “Iran was the only country in the Middle East that has access to the technology.”

Finding the gas is one thing. Developing the field at that depth is another, and is likely to be beyond Iran's level of expertise. Qasemi has taken a hard line against foreign companies, and so importing the knowledge needed to produce gas from the field will be extremely difficult.

The Oil Ministry has established the Khazar Oil Company to provide the infrastructure - including terminals, berths and support facilities – for discovering new oil and gas reserves in the Caspian Sea.

Iran’s government is struggling to attract foreign investment to help develop its gas and oil resources amid international economic sanctions. Qasemi called sanctions against Iran ‘”fruitless”, saying "we have no problem to find a replacement for the EU oil market and we can easily replace the European market."

The minister also said, according to Mehr, that OPEC states which increased oil production to compensate for Libya’s export from oil markets to cut production now the North African state was exporting oil.

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