TEHRAN – Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani has announced to the world the discovery of a new 53 billion barrel oil reserve amid US sanctions.
At over 50 billion barrels, the reserve found in Khuzestan province could be the second largest in the Persian country, increasing the country’s proven reserves by a third.
“I’m telling the White House that these days when you sanctioned the sale of Iranian oil, the workers and engineers of the country discovered a reserve of 53 billion barrels of oil,” published the words of Hassan Rouhani according to news agency Deutsche Welle.
The president of the country categorized the discovery as “a small gift to the Iranian people.”
However, US sanctions against Iran could make it difficult for oil to flow from the new reserve to the international market.
Washington’s measures have targeted the country’s energy sector, while selling oil is one of the largest sources of revenue for the Iranian government.
Meanwhile, Iran is building a new onshore pipeline to transport oil without passing through the narrow critical of Hormuz.
The $1.8 billion pipeline will connect an oil terminal near the northern coast of the Persian Gulf with a port on Iran’s southern coast, which means oil tankers Iranians, once the project is completed, will not have to cross the Strait of Hormuz.
Iran’s Oil Minister Bijan Zangeneh said this week that Iran is building a 1,000-kilometer onshore pipeline from Goreh oil terminal in Bushehr province to Jask terminal, a port east of the Strait Hormuz in the Gulf of Oman.
Zangeneh added, as quoted by the Ministry of Petroleum news agency , that $700 million of $1.8 billion will go to the development of the port of Jask.
The minister added that the pipeline project “would transform the region, as in Jask would be built several oil storage facilities, an export pier, breakwaters and a modern mooring system.”
The plan also foresees the construction of two refineries in the region, with daily refining capacity of 300 thousand and 150 thousand barrels and other petrochemical facilities.
Iran has been planning for years to build a terminal outside the Persian Gulf, which would eliminate the need for its tankers to cross the Strait of Hormuz and create a new export route for its crude oil.
New export route
In September 2018, President Hassan Rouhani announced that Iran would transfer “most” of its exports from the Kharg island terminal in the Persian Gulf to the port of Jask.
The Jask terminal is expected to start exporting gas condensate from the Pars Sul field by 2020 and oil exports are expected to start in early 2021.
Tehran has previously threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz, a crucial waterway through which a third of the world’s maritime oil traffic is carried.