Iran claims to top Iraq with 150 billion bbl of oil reserves

By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, Oct. 12
-- Iran has reclaimed third position in officially estimated oil reserves, only days after the Iraqi government jumped ahead of it with a large increase of its own.

Masoud Mirkazemi, minister of petroleum, said in Tehran that the official Iranian reserves estimate had increased to 150.31 billion bbl and would increase again by yearend.

The earlier estimate was 137.62 billion bbl, third largest in the world behind Saudi Arabia and Canada until Iraq raised its estimate to 143 billion bbl of reserves from 115 billion bbl (OGJ, Oct. 11, 2010, Newsletter). Most of Canada’s reserves estimate is oil sands and heavy oil requiring unconventional production methods.

Reserves figures are important to the assignment of quotas for members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. With global oil demand rising slowly and non-OPEC production increasing, tension over quotas is expected to intensify in the exporters’ group. OPEC members are thought to be questioning Iraq’s exemption from the quota system.

Mirkazemi estimated Iranian gas reserves at 1.17 quadrillion cu ft. The earlier estimate was 1.05 quadrillion cu ft. Only Russia has a larger gas reserves estimate: 1.7 quadrillion cu ft.

The petroleum minister cited the recent discovery of Sefid gas field in Hormozgan, 140 km northwest of Bandar Lengeh, which he said holds 2.5 tcf of gas in place.

Production gains
Iranian authorities have reported several increases in oil production recently.

Ahmad Qalebani, managing director of National Iranian Oil Co., said on Oct. 10 that second-phase development had pushed production at Darkhovain oil field to 160,000 b/d from 100,000 b/d and that the field would be transferred to Arvandan Oil & Gas Co., an NIOC subsidiary, soon. He said the field now has 22 development, 1 water-injection, and 4 gas-injection wells.

The field, in southwestern Iran, also has been referred to as Darkhowain (see map, OGJ, Jan. 7, 2008, p. 34). Eni was involved in development under a buy-back contract but has withdrawn.

Qalebani also said Jofeir field officially will start up at a rate of 3,300 b/d next month. An Iranian official earlier said the field, also in southwestern Iran, was producing 3,500 b/d and would produce 6,000 b/d after the installation of pumps (OGJ Online, Oct. 4, 2010).

Mahmood Zirakchianzade, managing director of National Iranian Offshore Oil Co., said production from Hengam oil field, which Iran shares with Oman, is on schedule to reach 16,000 b/d by late October. The field has been producing 10,000 b/d of 43.5º gravity oil (OGJ, Sept. 6, 2010, Newsletter).

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