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Huge oil reserve found in Iran

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Iran makes huge oil discovery

Oil fields contain estmated 38 billion barrels of reserves

TEHRAN, Iran, July 14 — Iran has made a major new oil find containing estimated reserves of more than 38 billion barrels, making it one of the world’s biggest undeveloped fields, a senior oil official was quoted as saying Monday.

ABOLHASAN KHAMOUSHI, general director of Iran’s Oil Development and Engineering Company, told the Kayhan evening newspaper that the find, combining three neighboring oil fields, had been discovered close to the southern port city of Bushehr.

An oil ministry spokeswoman confirmed to Reuters the accuracy of the report but gave no further details.

Khamoushi said preliminary studies indicated that the Ferdows field contained 30.6 billion barrels, the Mound field 6.63 billion and the Zagheh field 1.3 billion.

“The exact capacity will be announced shortly,” Kayhan quoted Khamoushi as saying.

“Producing oil from these heavy crude fields needs special technology and heavy investment,” he added.

The crude is of high density, making it less valuable on world markets than most of Iran’s 90 billion barrels of proven reserves.

Commercially recoverable reserves are certain to prove much less than the 38 billion barrels in place, but the find could still rival the world’s two other leading undeveloped fields.

Kazakhstan’s Kashagan, under development by a consortium led by Italy’s ENI also is estimated to hold 38 billion barrels of which 7 billion to 9 billion are thought commercially recoverable.

Iran’s Azadegan, discovered four years ago, holds about 26 billion barrels with recoverable reserves of 9 billion.

Saudi Arabia’s Ghawar, brought on stream in 1951, is the world’s biggest oil field, still containing 70 billion barrels of recoverable reserves.

Hoping to boost its oil production capacity to 5 million barrels per day (bpd) by 2005 from 4 million bpd, Iran now has placed greater emphasis in recent years on exploration and attracting foreign investment through so-called buy-back schemes.

That effort was dealt a major blow last month when Japan announced it would delay signing a $2 billion deal for a Japanese consortium to develop Azadegan until doubts about Iran’s nuclear ambitions are cleared up. Iran insists its nuclear program is solely geared to producing electricity.

© 2003 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters.

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