Iran Takes Step to Tap Into Caspian Energy

Iran Takes Step to Tap Into Caspian Energy

Iran’s Supreme National Security Council has given the ok for oil and gas exploration in the Caspian Sea, the chief executive director of Khazar Exploration and Production Company (KEPCO) said in a statement.

“To start new exploration activities in the Caspian Sea, the oil minister [Bijan Namdar Zanganeh] should also issue a directive,” Farhang Khatibi was quoted as saying by Mehr News Agency.

Based on the Oil Ministry’s declared policies, exploration of hydrocarbon reserves on the Iranian side of the Caspian is a top priority.

Iran's semi-submersible Amir Kabir drilling platform has been moved to a new zone in the Caspian Sea, the official said, adding that the rig will start operations in deeper waters.

The country has taken steps to tap into its huge hydrocarbon reserves after international sanctions against its nuclear program were removed more than six months ago.

In a conference last year, Tehran put three exploratory blocks in the Caspian region, namely 24, 26 and 29 as well as Sardar-e Jangal, in the list of projects that will be put out to international tender.

In December 2011 Tehran said it had discovered a substantial oil deposit, later called Sardar-e-Jangal field, which reportedly contains about 10 billion barrels of oil and more than 1 trillion cubic meters of natural gas.

It is located 188 km north of Roudsar in Gilan Province and 250 km northwest of Neka. In May 2012, another field, Sardar Melli, was discovered at the same altitude.

Traditionally an oil-producing area, the Caspian region's importance as a natural gas producer is fast growing. Offshore fields account for 41% of total Caspian crude oil and lease condensate (19.6 billion barrels) and 36% of natural gas (3 trillion cubic meters).

Most of the offshore oil reserves are in the northern parts of the sea, while most of the offshore natural gas reserves are in the southern regions.

In the past few years, extraction of oil and gas from the Caspian Sea has witnessed a significant rise by other littoral states, but Iran's share has remained zero.

Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan are reportedly drawing a total of over 2.3 million barrels of crude oil per day from the sea.

Since 1994, nearly 30 American, European and Asian contractors have taken part in Caspian oil and gas projects.


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