DUBAI, April 17 (Reuters) - Iran plans to start looking for
shale oil and gas this year near its border with Iraq, the head
of exploration at the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) said
Inspired by a shale revolution which has transformed the
United States from the world's biggest importer to a potential
exporter of gas, Saudi Arabia has already started probing its
Iran will start its first shale oil and gas exploration in
the Zagros region of western Iran before March next year, NIOC
exploration chief Hormoz Qalavand told Fars news agency.
Qalavand said that NIOC is focusing its exploration
activities on border areas, adding that the country had found a
total number of 15 new oil and gas layers last year.
Iran is already an oil and gas exporter but is struggling to
sell as much as its vast conventional reserves should allow due
to Western sanctions on its energy industry imposed over its
disputed nuclear programme.
Shale oil and gas projects are typically more expensive than
conventional projects but can be attractive to countries that
currently rely on imported fuels.
(Reporting by Daniel Fineren; Editing by Mark Heinrich)