Iran Finds New Oil, Gas Reserves in Ahvaz Field

TEHRAN, Nov 26, 2006 (Dow Jones Newswires)

Iran has discovered new onshore oil and natural gas reserves in the oil-rich southwestern province of Khuzestan with an estimated value of $7.3 billion, an Iranian oil official said Wednesday.

The new gas reserves have been discovered at the Khami layer of the Ahvaz oil field, the Oil Ministry's information network quoted the managing director of the National Iranian Oil Co., or NIOC, Gholam-Hussein Nozari, as saying.

The Khami layer of the Ahvaz oil field is around 60 kilometers southwest of the city of Ahvaz, capital of Khuzestan province.

Nozari said the value of the new natural gas and oil discovered in the Khami layer has been put at around $7.3 billion based on oil at $35 a barrel, condensate at $40 a barrel, and natural gas at 2.5 cents a cubic meter.

The report didn't specify the exact quantity of the oil and gas reserves discovered in the layer.

However, it was reported last month that Khami is one of the highest pressure and deepest natural gas reserves in the world with an in-place gas reserve of up to 7.4 trillion cubic feet of which more than half could be extracted.

Nozari said the gas field is expected to yield gas at 150 million cubic feet a day and oil and condensates at 37,000 b/d by the end of the first-phase of development.

He said the significance of the new gas discovery is that it can be used for injection into the surrounding oil fields to improve their yields.

The NIOC chief also said work on the development of the Yadavaran oil field with the China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. (SNP), or Sinopec, is drawing to an end and the contract will be signed soon. He didn't give a date.

He said earlier this week that the preparation of the contract with Sinopec on the development of the oil field has been bogged down by differences over who should do the minesweeping at the field which is near the border with Iraq.

The Yadavaran oil field, with an in-place reserves of some 17 billion barrels, comprises the Koushk and Husseinieh oil fields discovered in 2000 and 2002, respectively.

Yadavaran was littered with land mines during the 1980-1988 Iraq-Iran war, and the mines need to be cleared before the field can be developed.

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