Despite its reputation as an oil development headache, Iran has recently reported the discovery of 46 oil fields within the Caspian Sea:
Iran's Oil Minister Gholam Hossein Nozari said that his country located 46 oil fields in the Caspian Sea, the satellite Press TV reported on Thursday.
"Eight of the fields (out of 46) are presently ready for exploitation," Nozari was quoted as saying.
On Thursday, Iran launched its domestically-built semi-submersible drilling rig in the Caspian Sea for the exploration of oil and gas reserves.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad participated in the inaugural ceremony of the semi-submersible rig called Iran-Alborz, the largest in the Middle East, according to another report by Press TV.
Reportedly, the semi-floating rig weighs 14,000 tons and will facilitate oil exploration in the southern part of the Caspian Sea. It can operate at water depths up to 1,030 meters and can drill down to 6,000 meters under the seabed.
After winning the international tender offered by the National Iranian Oil Company for the construction of the Iran-Alborz platform in 2002, the (Iranian) Sadra Group, with a 95 percent of share, kicked off the project in a joint venture with the Swedish company GVA, which held another 5 percent of share, Press TV said.
Iran also plans to build a new oil pipeline linking the northern port of Neka in the Caspian Sea to the southern port of Jask in the Sea of Oman, Press TV quoted Nozari as saying.
According to the report, Iran's Deputy Oil Minister Noureddin Shahnazizadeh had said earlier that initial studies for the 2-billion-U.S.-dollar pipeline had been concluded and that the ministry would move to sign a contract soon.
Earlier in the year, Iran reported whopper-sized mega-finds, and years prior, made headlines with the discovery of the Ferdows and Mound/Zageh Fields.