Iran is among the world's top oil producers, but has struggled to sell its crude under US sanctions Photo: AFP
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Iran announces discovery of massive new oil field

21 Comments

Iran has discovered a massive new oil field, President Hassan Rouhani said Sunday, a find that would boost its proven reserves by about a third in a rare piece of "good news" for an economy battered by U.S. sanctions.

In a speech aired on state TV, Rouhani said the country's economy had stabilized despite punishing U.S. measures against its senior leaders, banking and finance sectors.

The vast field in the southwestern province of Khuzestan holds an estimated 53 billion barrels of crude, he said.

The 80-meter deep reservoir stretches nearly 200 kilometers from Khuzestan's border with Iraq to the city of Omidiyeh.

"This is a small gift by the government to the people of Iran," he said in a speech from the central city of Yazd. "We announce to America today that we are a rich nation, and despite your enmity and cruel sanctions, Iranian oil industry workers and engineers discovered this great oil field."

The find would add around 34 percent to the OPEC member's current proven reserves, estimated by energy giant BP at 155.6 billion barrels.

Iran, a founding member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, sits on what were already the world's fourth-biggest oil reserves. The new reserves, if proven, would lift it to third place, just before regional arch-rival Saudi Arabia.

But it remains to be seen how much the country can benefit from the new field.

Iran has struggled to sell its oil since U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from a landmark 2015 nuclear deal last year and reimposed unilateral sanctions.

In May, Washington ended temporary sanctions waivers it had granted to the eight main buyers of Iranian oil, ratcheting up the pressure on holdouts China, India and Turkey to find other suppliers.

Tehran does not report exact figures, but says some crude is still exported via "unconventional" means.

It has hit back at the U.S. with a series of countermeasures, stepping up its nuclear activities and threatening to go further unless the deal's promised economic benefits materialize.

It insists its moves are transparent and easily reversible, calling on the deal's other parties to honor their commitments.

The remaining parties to the 2015 accord -- Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia -- have been working on measures to help it avoid U.S. sanctions, but with few results so far.

Since the U.S. withdrawal, tensions have cranked up in the Gulf with a series of mysterious attacks on tankers and Saudi oil installations, with Tehran and Washington narrowly avoiding an armed confrontation after the downing of a U.S. drone over Iranian territory.

Iran has experienced a sharp economic downturn this year, fueled in part by U.S. sanctions, with a plummeting currency sending inflation skyrocketing and hiking the prices of imports.

But Rouhani insisted the economy had now stabilized.

"Our people weathered hard days in the past year ... (but) I believe America is now hopeless," he said.

The IMF has said Iran's economy will contract by a massive 9.5 percent this year, its worst performance since 1984 when the Islamic republic was at war with neighboring Iraq, but notes the growth is expected to stabilize at zero next year.

Authorities have cracked down hard on "economic disruptors" -- Iranians accused of exploiting shortages and fluctuations in gold and currency prices, with dozens tried and some executed.

"I call on the judiciary... to explain billion-dollar corruption cases to the people," Rouhani said during his speech in Yazd. "Where has the money gone?"

He pointed to a "$2.7 billion case" whose suspect has been "arrested, sentenced to die and is now in prison" -- but in which the money is yet to be recovered.

He appeared to be referring to business magnate Babak Morteza Zanjani, on death row after being convicted in 2016 of embezzling $2.7 billion while helping the government circumvent international sanctions.

© 2019 AFP

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

21 Comments
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Pentagon regime change planners just got told they’ll be working overtime for the next few months.

3 ( +9 / -6 )

Iran has struggled to sell its oil since U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from a landmark 2015 nuclear deal last year and reimposed unilateral sanctions.

This is only temporary, when the world starts complaining about rising prices of gasoline their oil will flow too!

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Pentagon regime change planners just got told they’ll be working overtime for the next few months.

By your boy Donny.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Pentagon regime change planners just got told they’ll be working overtime for the next few months.

Fortunately Donald Trump is in charge and the regime change planners are gonna have to cool their heels.

-5 ( +5 / -10 )

Fortunately Donald Trump is in charge and the regime change planners are gonna have to cool their heels.

At least you've dropped the incorrect claim that Donny is bringing the troops home from the ME.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

@serranoFortunately Donald Trump is in charge and the regime change planners are gonna have to cool their heels.

Exactly. Russia and Iran are partners (see Syria, see Gas Exporting Countries Forum). Trump's Putin's pal. As long as Trump's in office, the Russia-Iran circle will not be broken.

Trump and his neo-cons will continue to talk tough about Iran, keep the theater going, knowing that way they can justify even more spending on defense, an industry whose growth keeps the US economy going and Trump and the GOP in office. While things like healthcare and infrastructure are ignored.

After Trump leaves office It will be interesting to see what his family syndicate's global business empire will be doing in Russia's Eurasian Economic Union and other parts of the world where he's appeased rightwing dictators.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The find would add around 34 percent to the OPEC member's current proven reserves, estimated by energy giant BP at 155.6 billion barrels.

Assuming that major producers still belong to OPEC, that indeed would be worthy of the word "massive". I'm surprised something that big and valuable can go undetected.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Time for another war!

"Iran has WMVs and we know where they are!"

7 ( +7 / -0 )

A good news for Iran. Now there is no need for Nuclear power in Iran. Ditch it.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Time for another war!

Time to reduce the amounts of oil and gas burnt to eliminate wars for oil. Time to move away from the fossil economy. And the weapons economy.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Oil means nothing. Venezuela has the largest oil reserves and it is piss poor.

Venezuela's poor for many reasons, mainly because of its corrupt leaders who have control over the resource and the wealth it generates. They've kept too much for themselves while 90% of the country lives in or near poverty. It's also poor because of terrible decisions made by Chavez, made worse by decisions made by Putin's puppet Maduro, and by sanctions led by the US.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Venezuela's poor for many reasons, mainly because of its corrupt leaders who have control over the resource and the wealth it generates. They've kept too much for themselves while 90% of the country lives in or near poverty. It's also poor because of terrible decisions made by Chavez, made worse by decisions made by Putin's puppet Maduro, and by sanctions led by the US.

Sanctions are the least of Venezuela's problems.

Their major issues are, as you said, corrupt government stealing all the money, and the government nationalizing major industries, staffing it with cronies and then running said industries into the ground because they don't know how to run them.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

53 bn divided by 93 mil barrels a day is only 1.5 years at 2015 consumption.. Whoop de doo

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It's all about the oil.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Time for another war!

"Iran has WMVs and we know where they are!"

No worries, McCain and Clinton are never going to be president.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

New oil field?

Iran is definitely in need of some freedom now.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

53 bn divided by 93 mil barrels a day is only 1.5 years at 2015 consumption.

But it could be an additional 75 years for Iran if they were to use it all for themselves.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Iran is definitely in need of some freedom now.

Right now? That would require the mullahs to be forcibly kicked out of power and replaced with secular leaders. Who's going to do that? I'm afraid Iranians are in for a rough ride for years to come.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

About time for the Iranians to have some democracy and freedom.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

And the price of oil will fall, sometime soon or ....never lol!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

About time for the Iranians to have some democracy and freedom.

Just like the good old U.S.A., leader of the free world!

(sarcasm)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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