Iran boosts discovery rates in recent years

In the 3 years since Iranian President Mohammad Khatami took office, about 5.34 billion bbl of crude oil and NGL and 855.3 billion cu m of natural gas have been discovered in Iran, an oil company official said here Monday. Quoted by the Iranian News Agency Monday, National Iranian Oil Co. (NIOC) First Deputy Managing Director Mehdi Mirmoezzi, noted that this increase in reserves is unprecedented in Iran's post-revolution period.


TEHRAN--In the 3 years since Iranian President Mohammad Khatami took office, about 5.34 billion bbl of crude oil and NGL and 855.3 billion cu m of natural gas have been discovered in Iran, an oil company official said here Monday.

Quoted by the Iranian News Agency Monday, National Iranian Oil Co. (NIOC) First Deputy Managing Director Mehdi Mirmoezzi, noted that this increase in reserves is unprecedented in Iran's post-revolution period.

Mirmoezzi told reporters that the quantity of oil discovered in Iran in the past 3 years is equivalent to 4 years' worth of output, while the gas found represents 7 years' production. For each cubic meter of gas extracted, he said, 2.23 cu m of gas was discovered, and for each barrel of crude oil extracted, 1.3 bbl of oil was found.

The Azadegan oil field, discovered last year, was the largest to be found in Iran since 1964, noted Mirmoezzi. And the largest sweet gas field discovered in the century-old history of Iran's oil industry-Tabnak field-was found this year.

A considerable portion of Iran's oil and gas reserves are yet to be discovered, he said.

Meanwhile, NIOC Director of Exploration Mahmoud Mohaddes told state television Monday that his firm had made its second discovery in 2 weeks. The new find-Zireh field in Bushehr province-is postulated to hold 1 billion bbl of oil and 800 bcf of gas. It follows the discovery of Homa field, 45 km north of Bandar Assaluyeh, which has estimated reserves of 4.74 tcf of gas and 58 million bbl of NGL.

Development projects
The deputy managing director noted that, in recent years, investment in oil and gas development projects has been low.

Field development contracts have recently been inked, however, and will take effect during the country's third 5-year economic development plan (2000-04). Since October 1997, said Mirmoezzi, nine development contracts worth a combined $10.5 billion have been signed. These projects are expected to boost production capacity by 340,000 b/d of oil and 214 million cu m/day of gas.

In addition, said the official, a number of other contracts would be signed within the next 2-3 months, including deals for the implementation of Phases VI, VII, and VIII of the South Pars gas field development project. Italy's ENI SPA won Phases VI and V earlier this month (OGJ Online, Aug. 2, 2000).

As Iranian law forbids the use of buy-back contracts on new oil and gas projects, tender bids will be submitted for the first phase of the Azadegan development, involving about 120,000 b/d of production capacity, said Mirmoezzi. Bids are expected to be offered in the form of project finance, or through domestic financial resources, he added.

Mirmoezzi said Iran's onshore oil production capacity stood at 3.48 million b/d at the start of this year, while offshore output stood at 613,000 b/d. Through the implementation of projects that are already planned, and with the help of favorable financing, he hopes domestic oil output will increase to 5 million b/d by the end of the third plan.

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