Iraq has discovered substantial crude oil reserves in the southeastern province of Maysan after its state-run petroleum production companies conducted the first exploration activities in almost three decades.
Iraqi Oil Ministry spokesman Assem Jihad told AFP on Sunday that exploration started in Maysan, on the border with neighboring Iran, last year and the deposits of crude equivalent to one billion barrels of oil were found after studies were commissioned.
The spokesman termed the discovery as a big success for Iraq’s oil industry.
"The initial assessment from this discovery is about one billion barrels of oil," Jihad said, adding, "It will increase production capacity for Maysan Oil Company."
Iraq largely depends on oil revenues to support most state expenditures.
In recent years, the government in Baghdad has explored avenues to increase oil production in order to finance infrastructure projects across Iraq.
Iraq has proven reserves of 143.1 billion barrels of crude oil and 3.2 trillion cubic meters (111.9 trillion cubic feet) of natural gas.