File photo shows installations at the South Pars Gas Field in southern Iran.
Iran’s Research Institute of the Petroleum Industry (RIPI) says it has discovered giant gas hydrate reserves in the country’s territorial waters in the Sea of Oman.
“Based on the latest surveys conducted in the Sea of Oman...we have discovered gas hydrate reserves equaling the country’s total conventional oil and gas reserves,” RIPI project manager for exploration of hydrate gas reserves in Sea of Oman, Naser Keshavarz, said on Monday.
Keshavarz underlined the importance of using gas hydrate as replacement to fossil fuels, saying “After exploitation, every cubic meter of gas hydrate will produce heat equal to 164 cubic meters of gas."
Gas hydrate is a crystalline water-based solid physically resembling ice, in which small non-polar molecules (typically gases) or polar molecules with large hydrophobic moieties are trapped inside 'cages' of hydrogen-bonded water molecules.
Iran, which sits on the world's second largest natural gas reserves after Russia, has been trying to enhance its gas production by increasing foreign and domestic investments, especially in its South Pars Gas Field.
The South Pars Gas Field covers an area of 9,700 square kilometers, 3,700 square kilometers of which are in Iran's territorial waters in the Persian Gulf. The remaining 6,000 square kilometers, i.e. the North Dome, are in Qatar's territorial waters.