TEHRAN, April 21 (UPI) -- Iran is the only member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries that has expertise in deepwater oil and gas exploration, an official said.
Ali Osouli, director of the Khazar Exploration and Production Co. in Iran, said exploring the reserves in the deep Caspian basin requires technological expertise only a few countries possess.
"At present, Iran is at the top of Caspian Sea littoral states to that effect," he said Sunday.
Iran is among the world leaders in terms of oil reserves. More than half of its oil is found inland, though the U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates Iran lays claim to approximately 100 million barrels of oil in its territorial waters of the Caspian Sea.
Iran is at odds with Azerbaijan over the territorial boundaries in the Caspian Sea. Littoral state Kazakhstan, meanwhile, is having difficulty extracting oil from the Caspian Sea's Kashagan field, thought to be one of the largest in the world, though it lies in shallower waters.
Iran's energy sector is struggling to gain momentum under Western economic sanctions imposed in response to a controversial nuclear program the Iranian government says is for peaceful purposes.