Iran's Caspian offshore oil fields found

WASHINGTON, July 24 (UPI) -- Iranian Oil Minister Gholamhossein Nozari announced that Iran has identified 46 offshore oil fields in its Caspian territorial waters.

Eight are currently available for surveying and exploration activity.


The Fars News Agency reported on July 24 that Tehran would be sending its domestically-built 14,000-ton Iran-Alborz semi-submersible drilling rig to prospect the sites.

The Iran-Alborz rig, built to a Swedish Gotaverken GVA-4000 design for the National Iranian Oil Co. in Iran Marine Industrial Co.'s Caspian shipyard in Neka, is the largest in the Middle East and will allow Iran to explore its Caspian oil reserves down to a water depth of around 3,300 feet and is designed to be able to drill a further 20,000 feet under the seabed.

Iran's attempts to explore its Caspian territorial waters have long been stymied by U.S. sanctions, which have thwarted its attempts to procure sophisticated offshore drilling technology.

Eighteen years after the collapse of the Soviet Union the five nations sharing the Caspian -- Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia and Turkmenistan -- have yet to agree to a definitive treaty delineating the division of the Caspian's offshore waters and seabed, but all nations have now begun offshore hydrocarbon activities in what by common consent are their territorial sectors.


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