State-owned National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) has announced the discovery of a second gas field in the Khorasan Razavi province in the northeast of the country.

Mahmoud Mohaddes, head of NIOC’s exploration office says reserves have been found at the Attar field, the local Mehr news reports. Exploratory drilling will assess the size of the reserves.

The news comes only a week after NIOC announced the discovery of 2.19 trillion cubic feet of of gas at the existing Toos field in the same province on 20 June.

According to Mohaddes, between 70-75 per cent of the Toos gas is recoverable. The development of the reserves at Toos will require the drilling of six wells. When developed, the field could yield as much as 140 million cubic feet a day of gas over a 20-25 year period.

Despite holding an estimated 29.61 trillion cubic meters of natural gas, the second largest reserves in the world after Russia, Iran’s gas exports are limited to occasional deals with neighboring countries.

Facing increasing domestic consumption and a lack of investment and technology the Islamic Republic has even been forced to import gas. Earlier in the month, Tehran signed a deal with Turkmenistan to boost gas imports by 40 per cent to 40 million cubic meters a day (cm/d) from 25 million cm/d. The gas will be transported via the 30 kilometer Dovletabat-Sarakhs-Hangeran pipeline which was inaugurated in January this year.