TEHRAN: Iran has discovered a massive new oil field, President Hassan Rouhani said on Sunday, a find that would boost its proven reserves by about a third for an economy battered by US sanctions. In a speech aired on state TV, Rouhani said the country’s economy had stabilised despite punishing US 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-metre deep reservoir stretches nearly 200 kilometres 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 per cent to the Opec member’s current proven reserves, estimated by energy giant BP at 155.6 billion barrels. Iran, a founding member of the Organisation 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 Saudi Arabia.