File photo shows the Amir Kabir semi-submersible drilling rig in the Caspian Sea.
A high-ranking Iranian oil industry official says the value of crude oil reserves of Iran's newly discovered Caspian oil field exceeds USD50 billion.
Ahmad Qalebani, managing director of the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), said Monday that Caspian oil discovery has bewildered Western countries which were planning to impose further sanctions on the Iranian oil industry.
Asked about Western sanctions on selling gasoline and other oil products to Iran, the official noted that Iranian specialists have succeeded in turning sanctions into opportunities.
“Two years ago some countries thought that by banning the sales of gasoline and other oil products, they could mount pressure on Iranians. However, this threat has been turned into an opportunity by [Iran's] oil industry [specialists],” he said.
Qalebani stated that by taking advantage of that opportunity Iran has managed to minimize gasoline imports, which previously stood at 20 million liters per day, and become self-sufficient in gasoline production.
“Last year, USD 22.5 billion of investment was attracted to the upstream oil sector which showed remarkable increase compared to the previous year (USD 16.5 billion), though Iran has made less use of such resources such as buyback [deals],” he added.
On Thursday, May 10, 2012, and less than a year after Iran discovered a huge gas field in its territorial waters in the Caspian Sea, the NIOC officials said the area also contains huge crude oil reserves.
The new oil reserves were discovered by the Amir Kabir semi-submersible drilling rig in the course of exploration operations on Sardar-e Jangal gas field in the deep waters of the Caspian Sea.
According to the NIOC officials, the new natural gas field is completely situated within Iran’s territorial waters in the Caspian Sea and is not shared with any neighboring country.
The discovery of the new gas field took place by drilling eight exploration wells in the deep waters of the Caspian Sea with the eighth well hitting huge gas reserves.