Middle-East Current Affairs - 2020

Iran discovers new oil field with 53 Bn barrels of reserves

Iran has discovered a new oilfield with 53 billion barrels of crude oil in Khuzestan province, home to Iran’s Khuzestan’s crucial oil industry. The announcement however did not reveal how much oil could be produced from the reservoir but the find could boost country’s battered economy amid stringent US sanctions.

Key Highlights of Discovery

The new oil field discovered is 2,400 square kilometres (925 square miles), with the deposit some 80 metres (260 feet) deep.

The discovery of field is expected to boost country’s proven 150 billion barrel reserves by a third. It could also become Iran’s second-largest field after one in Ahvaz containing 65 billion barrels.

Iran’s Oil Reserves:

Iran currently has about proven crude oil reserves of 155.6 billion barrels and this new oil filed discovery would add about 34% to its total reserves.

At present, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) ranks Iran as having world’s fourth-largest proven deposits of crude oil and world’s second-largest deposits of natural gas. If the size of new oil reserves is proven to be accurate, it would lift the country to 3rd place, just below its regional enemy Saudi Arabia.

Iran is also a founding member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

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World’s oldest known natural pearl discovered on Abu Dhabi Island

The oldest known natural pearl in the world was discovered recently off the coast of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE) by Abu Dhabi archaeologists working at a Neolithic site on Marawah Island. It has been dubbed as ‘Abu Dhabi Pearl’. It was discovered in soil layers that have been radiocarbon dated to 5,800-5,600 BCE, during the Neolithic period.


Significance of this discovery: It gives proof that pearls and oysters were being used in UAE nearly 8,000 years ago. It also represents the earliest known evidence for pearling yet discovered anywhere in the world.

Previous Oldest Pearl: Prior to the Abu Dhabi Pearl discovery, the earliest known pearl in the UAE was discovered in Neolithic site of Umm Al Qaiwain. Besides, ancient pearls also have been found at a Neolithic cemetery close to Jebel Buhais, in UAE’s another province Sharjah.

Marawah Island’s neolithic sites

They were first identified in 1992 during a survey carried out by Abu Dhabi Islands Archaeological Survey (ADIAS). Subsequent excavations on these sites have shown them to include numerous collapsed stone structures, the earliest architecture yet discovered in the UAE. Aside from the priceless Abu Dhabi Pearl, significant finds from these sites includes imported ceramic vase from Ubaid civilisation in Mesopotamia (Iraq), beautifully worked flint arrowheads and shell and stone beads. Moreover, numerous painted plaster vessel fragments were also discovered, representing  earliest known decorative art yet discovered in the UAE.

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