Saudi Arabia has asserted its “full rights” alongside Kuwait over a disputed gas field, countering Iran’s claims, according to a report by AFP. The gas field, referred to as Arash in Iran and Dorra in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, is considered jointly owned by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the State of Kuwait, granting them exclusive rights, stated a foreign ministry source as reported by the official Saudi Press Agency.
This statement from Saudi Arabia comes shortly after Kuwait invited Iran to engage in talks concerning their maritime borders. The disagreement over the gas field dates back to the 1960s when Iran and Kuwait awarded overlapping offshore concessions. The field is estimated to possess recoverable reserves of approximately 220 billion cubic meters (seven trillion cubic feet).
Despite objections from Iran, last year Kuwait and Saudi Arabia signed an agreement to develop the field, which Iran denounced as “illegal.” Mohsen Khojsteh Mehr, the managing director of the National Iranian Oil Company, stated that preparations were underway to begin drilling in the joint Arash oil field. Iranian state media reported his remarks, in which he mentioned the allocation of substantial resources for implementing the field’s development plan.
For years, Iran and Kuwait have engaged in unsuccessful discussions regarding their disputed maritime border area, which is rich in natural gas. Saudi Arabia is also involved in the dispute as it shares maritime gas and oil resources with Kuwait in the region. The Iranian drilling of the field in 2001 prompted Kuwait and Saudi Arabia to establish a maritime border agreement that stipulated joint development of the offshore zone.