Iran to Inagurate New Rig to Explore for More Caspian Oil

Iran plans to launch a domestically-built 14,000 ton offshore platform in its territorial waters of the Caspian Sea to increase its oil output.

Iranian Oil Minister Gholamhoseyn Nowzari says President Mahmud Ahmadinezhad is scheduled to inaugurate the Iran-Alborz semisubmersible drilling rig in "the coming weeks."

After launching the $400 million platform, Nowzari said that Iran could explore oil reserves in the waters of the sea, down to a depth of about 1,000 meters.

After winning the international tender offered by the National Iranian Oil Company for the construction of the Iran-Alborz platform in 2002, the Sadra Group, with a 95 percent share, kicked off the project in a joint venture with the Swedish company GVA, which held a five percent share.

Iran's Khazar Oil Company said in a 2008 statement that the first well will be drilled by the Iran-Alborz platform at the depth of 700 meters.

Iran, the world's fourth greatest oil producer, has given priority to explorations of its territorial waters in the sixth largest enclosed body of water on the planet, estimated to have oil reserves of 17 billion to 44 billion barrels.

The maritime and seabed boundaries of Caspian Sea have yet to be demarcated between Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, the Russian Federation, and Turkmenistan -- the five nations bordering the world's largest lake.  

BBC Monitoring. Copyright BBC.

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