“An increase in Iran’s oil output will boost [Iran’s] bargaining power in international bodies, including OPEC, thus the oil production capacity must immediately increase to above four million bpd through enhanced oil recovery techniques,” Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said on Friday.
The minister stressed the need for the development of all phases of the South Pars gas field so that extraction from the massive offshore reservoir Iran shares with neighboring Qatar could start by the end of the current Iranian calendar year (ending on March 20, 2014).
Zanganeh said an ad hoc committee will also be formed to study the sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic and find ways to increase Iran’s oil exports.
He expressed hope that specialized manpower and veteran diplomats would help Iran's oil sector blunt the impact of Western sanctions.
Zanganeh acknowledged that the rounds of sanctions slapped on Iran by the United States and its European allies in the past years could not be lifted overnight; however, pledged emergency plans to help enhance oil sales.
Iran sits atop more than 96 billion barrels of in-place oil in the Persian Gulf.
With 137.6 billion barrels of proven reserves, Iran has the world's fourth largest crude deposits, and the second largest gas reserves, estimated at 29.61 trillion cubic meters (tcm).
On January 23, 2012, under pressure from the United States, the EU foreign ministers approved a round of sanctions against Iran's oil and financial sectors. The sanctions, which prevent EU member states from purchasing Iran's oil or extending insurance coverage for tankers carrying Iranian crude, came into effect on July 1, 2012.
The illegal US-engineered sanctions were imposed based on the unfounded accusation that Iran is pursuing non-civilian objectives in its nuclear energy program.
Iran rejects the allegation, arguing that as a committed signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency, it has the right to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.
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