July 20, 2008 / 8:01 AM / 11 years ago

Iran discovers oil field: minister

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran has discovered an oil field with in-place reserves of 525 million barrels, Oil Minister Gholamhossein Nozari was quoted as saying on Sunday.

Iranian Oil Minister Gholamhossein Nozari talks to journalists at the beginning of a meeting in OPEC's headquarters in Vienna March 5, 2008. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader

The discovery was made near the southern port city of Assaluyeh, state broadcaster IRIB said, without giving further details.

“A few other oil fields have also been discovered about which the public will be informed in the coming weeks,” Nozari said.

It came a week after Nozari announced the discovery of an oil field holding an estimated 233 million barrels of recoverable sweet oil and in-place reserves of 1.1 billion barrels in the oil-rich southwestern province of Khuzestan.

Iran, the second-largest producer of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), two months ago put its oil reserves at around 136 billion barrels.

State oil company head Seikfollah Jashnsaz was quoted as saying in May that Iran did not expect to discover any more major oil fields, but it planned to raise output by developing small fields and increasing the return from the ones already under production.

He said Iran aims to boost its oil output to 4.3 million barrels per day (bpd) by next March from 4.2 million bpd now.

Iran has made windfall gains from high oil prices in recent years. Its oil income amounted to around $60 billion in the 2006-07 Iranian year and officials expect it to increase further this year.

However, analysts say Iran’s oil industry needs a big injection of foreign investment to boost output, but Western firms in particular are wary of investing in Iran after the U.N. imposed sanctions on Tehran over its nuclear program.

Prior to Iran’s 1979 Islamic revolution and the 1980-88 war with neighboring Iraq, Iran produced roughly six million bpd, according to officials.

Reporting Hashem Kalantari, Writing by Fredrik Dahl; Editing by Anshuman Daga

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