Iran’s President announced that the country has discovered a new oil field in the southwestern province of Khuzestan. The oil field is expected to be the second-largest in the country with over 50 billion barrels of crude. Mr. Hassan Rouhani said that this discovery could boost the country’s proven reserves by a third as it strives to sell energy abroad over US sanctions.

The oil field in Khuzestan province stretches over an area of 1,491 square miles (about 2,400 sq. km) and is around 80 meters (262 feet) deep, according to the Iranian President. “This is a small gift by the Government to the people of Iran,” he said.

The statement by Hassan Rouhani comes as Iran faces severe American sanctions after the U.S. pulled out of its nuclear deal with world powers previous year.

“I am telling the White House that in the days when you authorized the sale of Iranian oil and pressured our country, the nation’s dear workers and engineers were capable to discover 53 billion barrels of oil in a big field,” Hassan said in a speech in the desert city of Yazd. He added that 53 billion barrels would be added to Iran’s established reserves – those that are commercially viable to extract – of some 150 billion. The find would add about 34 percent to Iran’s current proven reserves, estimated by energy giant BP to be 155.6 billion barrels.

Any government or company that purchases Iran’s oil faces harsh U.S. sanctions, the threat of which also backed up billions of dollars in business deals and sharply disparaged Iran’s currency, the Iranian Rial.

Iran has the globe’s fourth-largest proven deposits of crude oil and the world’s second-largest deposits of natural gas. The republic shares an enormous offshore field in the Persian Gulf with Qatar. Other countries have been fighting to save the 2015 nuclear agreement since the U.S. pulled out, including the UK, Germany, France, Russia, and China.

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