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(CNN) —  

Iran announced on Sunday that it has discovered a new natural gas reserve with the capacity to produce nearly 400 million barrels of gas condensate, which could generate a total of $40 billion.

The natural gas field, named Eram, is located near the Persian Gulf in the southwestern province of Fars and holds about 19 trillion cubic feet of gas, National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) Deputy Managing Director Reza Dehghan said at a press conference.

“We have the potential to identify more undiscovered oil and gas reserves (in the country) by using geophysical exploration techniques and discovery drilling and will definitely add to Iran’s national wealth,” Dehghan said.

The discovery comes at an opportune time for Iran, which has suffered economically under a series of US sanctions aimed at forcing the country to limit its nuclear program.

“America cannot cease Iran’s oil production. Sanctions have not stopped the Iranian oil industry. We are active. We are alive,” Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said last month.

Iranian officials have repeatedly said that the country will press forward with its energy development plans despite US sanctions that “seek to cripple the country’s economy,” according to reporting from semi-official news agency Tasnim.

Dehghan said Iran is ranked 4th among the countries with the largest proven oil reserves in the world, with 159 billion barrels of recoverable hydrocarbons.