EghtesadOnline: Russia has opened a $5 billion credit line to help finance infrastructure projects in Iran, $250 million of which is allocated for deep-water discovery projects, a deputy energy minister said, referring to a memorandum of understanding signed between Tehran and Moscow in 2015.
Rahim Meidani underscored the conclusion of an MoU between the Energy Ministry and Russia's Rosgeologia, and said, "The MoU was signed after President Vladimir Putin's trip to Tehran in December last year," Mehr News Agency reported.
The MoU calls for cooperation between the Russian firm and the Iranian Energy Ministry's Water Research Institute to explore deep-water reservoirs.
According to the official, preliminary studies to find deep-water reservoirs have already started with the help of domestic experts and as soon as potential water resources are identified, Russian specialists will help with the geological studies as well as extracting water from deep underground tables to meet the high and rising demand for potable water.
Reports say the parliament allowed the government to receive a loan of $5 billion from Russia to implement development plans, a part of which is in the form of a joint venture with the Russians to implement feasibility studies and find water reservoirs in specific regions.
"Drilling wells to reach drinking water at the depth of 800-1,000 meters is feasible but costly," Meidani said, adding that to implement such projects, major seismic studies should be conducted.
Mohammad Haj-Rasouliha, an adviser to Energy Minister Hamid Chitchian, had earlier announced the start of feasibility studies on drawing water from deep layers in three provinces, namely Sistan-Baluchestan, Khorasan Razavi and Yazd.
"The strategic groundwater resources take thousands of years to replenish. As such, they should be exploited only in special cases and with utmost care," he said.
According to Sattar Mahmoudi, Deputy Energy Minister, cutting edge equipment is required for studies aimed at exploring deep-water reservoirs.
"If our surveys reveal underground reservoirs, we should ensure whether the volume is economically viable for drilling and extraction."
The official noted that based on preliminary research, experts do not reject that Iran may have such reservoirs, yet undertaking further studies call for joint collaboration with other states like Russia whose technical know-how is up-to-date.
He, however, noted that Iran is in a position to explore groundwater on its own but “it makes sense to use the experience of other countries to make rapid progress, according to Financial Tribune.
“Close collaboration with Russia will ensure quick results,” he said.
The UN has labeled the water crisis as Iran’s “most important human security challenge in the coming decades”.
Perpetual drought and dry weather has brought with it a significant decline in rainfall that has resulted in a 6-billion-cubic-meter drop in the average water level of reservoirs.
Rosgeologia, a 100% state-owned company, is a company focusing on industry-specific tasks in the Russian geological sector. The holding company provides a full range of exploration services, ranging from regional surveys to parametric drilling and subsoil monitoring.