Iran has discovered 30 billion barrels of oil in place at a southwestern oil field that borders Iraq, the Jomhuri-ye Eslami newspaper reported yesterday.
“An Iranian company along with a Chinese company are preparing the ground for exploration of oil in the Arvand-Kenar field that has 30 billion barrels of oil in place,” the daily quoted Latif Hayayi Ahvazi, governor of Arvand-Kenar town, as saying.
Average recovery factors are between 20 and 50 percent of oil in place, so the Arvand-Kenar field could boost Iran’s proven reserves by as much as 15 billion barrels, according to Reuters’ calculations.
Oil officials contacted by Reuters were not available for immediate comment on Tuesday.
Iran has the world’s third-largest proven reserves at nearly 138 billion barrels or over 10 percent of the world’s total, according to BP’s 2010 statistical review.
The report did not name the Chinese company, or say how much of the oil in place at the field Iran would be able to produce.
One exploration well has already been completed at Arvand-Kenar, and two more were under way, an Iranian lawmaker was reported as saying by Jomhuri-ye Eslami.
“The first well has been drilled and the preliminary stages of digging two other wells in the field have started,” said lawmaker Hossein Dehdashti, a member of parliament’s Energy committee.
Iran has increasingly turned to state-owned oil firms from energy-hungry countries such as China for investment in its energy sector. The need to secure future supplies to feed rapidly growing economies has made Chinese and other state-run Asian firms less susceptible to political pressure from the United States and its allies.
Iran is the world’s fifth-largest oil exporter, but western oil firms have slowly reduced their presence in the country due to U.S. political pressure that aims to isolate Iran over its nuclear programme. The West fears Iran aims to develop nuclear weapons, while Iran says it needs nuclear power generation to meet domestic energy demand.
Iran’s plans to become one of the world’s largest gas exporters have been frustrated due to its inability to access technology to chill gas for export as liquefied natural gas (LNG).