Iran Makes New Oil Discovery in Central Region

Iran has discovered for the first time crude oil of premium quality in the central part of the country, the state-run Tehran Radio reported a senior oil official as saying Sunday. "The discovered oil in the Aran and Bidgol region is of the light category and is of the most premium quality in the world," said Mahmoud Mohaddes, the director of exploration department of the Oil Ministry.

The Aran and Bidgol region is in the vicinity of the city of Kashan, Isfahan Province, in central Iran.

The exploration contract on this region was first signed with the Chinese oil company Sinopex three years ago and the first exploratory well was drilled earlier last year. Mohaddes said the oil discovered in this region is recoverable but an estimate of the existing quantity would require additional study.

The bulk of Iran's oil reserves lie in the southern parts of the country and in the territorial waters of the Persian Gulf.

However, the discovery of oil in Aran and Bidgol has raised the hope for the existence of oil in the central parts of Iran.

The National Iranian Oil Co. has stepped up efforts toward the discovery of every single oil and gas field in the country. With this aim, it has defined 51 new exploratory oil blocks in different parts of the country that will go on for international tenders in phases. According to Eskandar Bavarian, a senior NIOC adviser, Iran is looking forward to the discovery of 500 million barrels of recoverable oil as well as 84 billion cubic meters of natural gas during the current year.

Iran has produced 8.6 billion barrels of oil in the past six years but the amount has been compensated with the discovery of 11.5 billion barrels of new oil.

Iran's oil reserves stand at 130 billion barrels which amount to 12% of the overall global reserves and 15% of that of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.