Saudi Arabia and Kuwait Want Iran to Resume Talks on the ‘Divided Area’, Including Al Durra Field
With Iran reiterating intentions to drill in an offshore gas field, known as Arash, in the ‘Divided Area’, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have urged Tehran to resume talks on demarcation of their maritime borders.
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The Saudi Press Agency highlighted that the ownership of the natural resources in the divided marine area, including the Al Durra field, is shared between Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. These two countries exclusively own natural wealth in the Divided Area. The Al Durra field is estimated to have a total reserve of about 310 million barrels of oil, and 20 trillion cubic feet of gas.
On Tuesday, six MPs in Kuwait parliament demanded the National Assembly’s foreign relations committee to review measures taken by the ministries of foreign affairs, defense, interior and oil, and other government bodies. They want to protect the country’s national interests and rights in relation to the Al Durra field, which was discovered in 1967. But Saad al-Barrak, Kuwait’s oil minister, categorically rejected Iran’s planned activities around the Durra field. He believes it goes against the norms of international law.
The most recent talks between Kuwait and Iran about demarcation took place in March. Kuwait and Saudi Arabia signed a joint agreement in 2022 to develop the Al Durra field, despite objections from Iran. The Saudi Aramco Gulf Operations Company and Kuwait Gulf Oil Company (KGOC) signed an MoU to jointly develop the gas field. They aim to produce 1 billion cubic feet of gas and 84,000 barrels of liquefied gas per day. Iran objected to the agreement between the two countries, saying it was illegal and believes Tehran shares exclusive rights with Saudi Arabia over its natural resources.
Despite only sharing the field with Riyadh, Kuwait invited Tehran for talks. It invited Iran for talks over their sea borders after Tehran announced it was ready to drill in the disputed offshore field. Mohsen Khojastehmehr, the head of the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), said last week that preliminary work for bilateral cooperation between Iran and Saudi Arabia had begun following the revival of relations between the two countries in March.
He said drilling operations in the Arash field will begin once the necessary conditions are met.