The Iranian Oil Ministry announced on Saturday that the Islamic Republic's gas production will double within the next three years, reaching 1.2 billion cubic meters annually.Deputy Oil Minister Javad Oji said once all phases of the South Pars gas field streamline, "the country's natural gas output will increase by 700-720 million cubic meters in the next three years". Oji had also announced in June that the country plans to double the capacity of its natural gas production in less than four years. Oji reiterated that Iran plans to invest more than $38 billion in its gas projects by the end of the country's Fifth National Development Plan (2010-2015). In August Managing-Director of Iran's Pars Oil and Gas Company (POGC) Mousa Souri announced that the country's gas production capacity has increased by 17 million cubic meters per day after gas exploration and production started in new wells. "Iran's gas production capacity in the Persian Gulf has increased by 17mcm today after inauguration of 6 new wells in phase 10 of South Pars field," Souri said. The official added that the operating phases of the South Pars gas field are currently yielding 240mcm of gas each day and the figure will amount to 280mcm by the end of the current Iranian year (March 2012). South Pars covers an area of 9,700 square kilometers, 3,700 square kilometers of which (i.e. South Pars) are in Iranian territorial waters in the Persian Gulf. The remaining 6,000 square kilometers (i.e. North Dome) are in Qatar's territorial waters. The Iranian share, which is divided into 24 phases, has about 14 trillion cubic meters of gas, or about eight percent of the total world reserves, and more than 18 billion barrels of liquefied natural gas resources. Iran has 137.6 billion barrels of proven oil reserves and 29.61 trillion cubic meters of proven gas reserves, ranking third in the world in oil reserves and second in gas reserves.