Iran has recoverable crude oil reserves of 160 billion barrels, the National Iranian Oil Company said, adding recoverable natural gas reserves came in at 33.33 trillion cubic meters, Mehr news agency reported.
The data, according to the Iranian media, makes Iran the third-largest holder of oil and gas reserves in terms of exploration capacity after the United States and Russia.
In natural gas, Iran’s biggest deposit is a field it shares with Qatar, South Pars, where maximum daily production has reached 66 million cubic meters. In oil, some of Iran’s largest fields lie along its border with Iraq, the largest among them, the South Azagedan field, which pumps 100,000 bpd currently but there are plans to increase this to 150,000 bpd.
The report comes a couple of weeks after Energy Minister Bijan Zanganeh announced a new oil discovery in the so far untapped region of Abadan. “This is the first time we’ve reached oil in the Abadan region,” Zanganeh said, adding that the grade was very light and sweet, but giving no details regarding the amount of reserves contained in the reservoir.
The news about the country’s reserves reinforce Iran’s defiant attitude to U.S. sanctions that came into effect last November and caused a substantial decline in its crude oil exports. The latest update, based on Reuters data, suggests Iran’s exports to its biggest importing region, Asia, fell to the lowest since 2015, to 1.31 million bpd last year.
This rate of intake will likely remain relatively unchanged in the coming months. Japan, South Korea, India, and China are all buying Iranian crude thanks to the sanction waivers they scored with Washington, but at much lower rates than they did before November. According to S&P Global Platts calculations, the rate at which the four countries are importing Iranian crude at the moment is at least half that of the rate seen before the sanctions went into effect.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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