Iran's minister of petroleum, Dr. Masoud Mirkazemi, announced yesterday that the country's crude oil reserves now stand at 150 billion barrels, which is up about 9% on previous estimates.This comes just a week after its neighbour, Iraq, had claimed to have overtaken Iran in the crude reserve stakes.
Dr Mirkazemi also claimed that further reserves would be found ( the total held by Iran even higher by the end of their year on 21st March 2011. He also put gas reserves at a figure of 33.1 thousand billion cubic metres.

Regarding rich oil and gas reserves Iran is not a poor country.” Dr. Mirkazemi said.

When combining oil and gas reserves Iran is the largest holder of non-renewable hydrocarbon reserves in the world.

A new gas field that has added to the reserves has been found in the province of Hormozgan. The field, named Sefid (Farsi for 'White'), holds 70 billion cubic metres of gas of which 72% can be extracted claimed the minister for petroleum.

Iran currently produces about 3.8 million barrels a day and last month declared itself self-sufficient in petroleum producing 62 million litres per day after an emergency plan to increase refinery capacity to eliminate the effect of sanctions over its nuclear programme.

But some analysts say the two countries (Iraq and Iran) are just in a 'bidding war' over their claimed reserves ahead of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) meeting on Thursday when quotas are to be allocated. But as Amrita Sen, an analyst at Barclays in London, put it to Reuters "It is not a question of how much reserves they have got in the ground but how much oil they can produce. Iran's production rate from mature fields is one of the highest in the world."

The Wall Street Journal has today reported that OPEC has raised its forecast a little for global oil demand but indicators are that quotas and production will remain unchanged in Thursday's meeting as world demand is projected to continue broadly as previously forecast.

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