TEHRAN, Jan. 7 (UPI) -- The Iranian oil minister said the government should be investing as much as $400 billion in the upstream oil and gas sector to meet national goals.
Iranian Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi said work began on 23 of the 27 fields it shares with neighboring countries since March 20, 2012, the start of the Iranian year.
"We should rise production capacity in the midstream sector and protect our place in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries with regard to sensitivity of the oil market and at the same time to try to curb selling materials in raw form," he was quoted by the Oil Ministry's website SHANA as saying.
Qasemi said that as much as $25 billion was invested in the upstream sector since March 20. Tehran, however, should invest as much as $400 billion to achieve national upstream objectives, he added.
Iran maintains a leadership position in terms of oil and natural production among OPEC members. Its consumer base has been restricted, however, because of economic sanctions imposed by Western governments regarding Tehran's nuclear program.
SHANA reported, however, that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said production from the South Pars gas field, one of Iran's largest, should double by next year despite the country's economic problems.