TEHRAN, Aug. 25 (UPI) -- More than 5 billion barrels of in-place oil reserves were discovered during drilling operations at the Susangerd field in southwest Iran, officials say.
Departing Oil Minister Gholamhossein Nozari announced drilling at the Susangerd field reached a level of 16,489 feet in recent operations, the semiofficial Fars news agency reports.
"The volume of the expected and possible in-place reserves in the said layers amounts to 5.83 billion barrels of oil," he added.
Nozari said the find is among the largest discovered in Iran in the last five years. The outgoing minister said the government would work toward development plans for the field in the "near future."
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad last week announced a controversial list of 11 new ministers for his next Cabinet, nominating Massoud Mir Kazemi to replace Nozari as the oil minister.
The nominee, the current commerce minister, said he would put a five-year development plan for the energy sector at the top of his national priorities. Lawmakers scrutinized his nomination due to his lack of experience in energy.
Iran has plans for 24 separate projects worth $15 billion to produce petrochemical products in 2009. Another $25 million will go to fund 46 new projects under a five-year development plan.