IRNA reports that Director of the Exploration Department of the National Iranian Oil Company, Mehdi Fakour, said at a news conference in Tehran on December 6 that the National Iranian Oil Company has used modern methods developed by knowledge-based companies to discover new oil reserves in southwestern Iran.

According to him, studies conducted by international organizations showed three countries of Russia, Iraq, and Iran will have the most explorations in the future and the discoveries in other regional states will come to an end, so the three nations would be ranked among top states in terms of foreign investments and continuation of oil and gas production.

Fakour reportedly went on to say that the Islamic Republic has kicked off cooperation with four countries, including Tajikistan, in implementing exploring studies.

Iran cooperates with an Asian country and five European ones to follow up on research projects, and an offshore bloc comprised of 30 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of gas reserves is located in the Persian Gulf, which can play a key role in upgrading industrial level in the country, Iranian official noted.

The budget for exploration increased 31 percent, he said, adding that the exploration projects in Iran need 1.5 billion U.S. dollars within a five-year period.