Iran inaugurates Caspian oil rig

TEHRAN, July 24 (UPI) -- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad inaugurated the semi-floatable Iran-Alborz drilling rig in its territorial waters of the Caspian Sea.

Iranian Oil Minister Gholamhossein Nozari said the rig is the largest such platform in the Middle East, with Tehran hoping for immediate exploration of oil and gas reserves.


Exploring the territorial waters of the Caspian Sea is one of the top priorities for Iran, notes the Petroenergy Information Network.

The Caspian Sea holds as much as 44 billion barrels of oil reserves. The semi-floatable rig can operate in waters depths of more than 3,300 feet with a maximum drilling depth of 19,685 feet.

Seifollah Jashnsaz, managing director at the National Iranian Oil Co., said domestic construction of the semi-floatable rig cost $80 million, compared with an estimated $450 million if the facility was built by foreign companies.

The Iranian marine industrial company Sadra Group won the contract to build the facility with a 95 percent stake in the Iran-Alborz platform. GVA, the Sweden-based offshore engineering company, holds a 5 percent share.

Iran sits on roughly 136 billion barrels of proven oil reserves, which is about 10 percent of the total proven reserves in the world.


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