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'A small gift': Iran discovers large new oil field, Rouhani says

Discovery in oil-rich Khuzestan province could boost Islamic Republic's reserves by a third, according to the president
President Hassan Rouhani delivering a speech to a crowd in the central city of Yazd (AFP)

Iran has discovered a large new oil field that could boost its reserves by a third, President Hassan Rouhani said on Sunday.

"Workers and the exploration arm of the National Iranian Oil Company... have found an oil field with 53 billion barrels of reserves," Rouhani said in a televised speech in the central city of Yazd.

"This is a small gift by the government to the people of Iran.”

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According to the president, the 80-metre-deep field stretches over 2,400 sq km in Iran's oil-rich Khuzestan province.

Already, Iran is estimated to have the fourth-largest reserves of any country.

The US Energy Information Administration estimated that the Islamic Republic had an estimated 157 billion barrels of proved crude oil reserves in January 2018.

Iran also holds the world's second-largest gas reserves. However, Tehran's ability to profit from its oil wealth has been badly affected by crippling US sanctions.

Since Washington pulled out of the landmark 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, Iran's economy has suffered badly and much of its oil revenue has dried up.