TEHRAN, Aug. 23 (UPI) -- Iran's oil minister said he was touring the giant offshore South Pars gas complex in the Persian Gulf to assess domestic energy needs.
Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh left Tehran for a tour of the offshore reserve area. He said developing the complex would help address Iranian natural gas needs.
South Pars is part of a broader natural gas complex split along the maritime border separating Iran from Qatar. Approximately 30 percent of the 3,700 square mile field is situated in Iranian waters.
Several sections of South Pars are under development.
"The Oil Ministry is trying to put the completed phases of South Pars into service as we urgently need these joint fields, given the country's need for gas," he was quoted as saying Thursday by state-funded broadcaster Press TV.
Iran has said some of the reserves from South Pars could help allay energy needs in Pakistan through a long-planned natural gas pipeline.
Iran said its section of South Pars contains approximately 500 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, which it says represents 8 percent of the world's natural gas reserves. The U.S. Energy Information Administration puts the reserve estimate at approximately 325 trillion cubic feet, which represents more than 27 percent of Iran's total proved natural gas reserves.