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Report criticizes Iran’s delay to develop disputed gas field claimed by Kuwait

A report criticizes Iran’s Oil Ministry for its delay in developing a disputed gas field claimed by Kuwait.

A local Iranian news agency has criticized the country’s Oil Ministry for its delay to develop a disputed gas field in the Persian Gulf just after a Kuwaiti minister said that the field belongs to the country and Saudi Arabia and Iran has no right in it.

The Tuesday report by the Tasnim news agency said that Iran should have started works on Arash gas field, located on undemarcated maritime borders between Iran and Kuwait, more than a year ago based on plans announced by the Oil Ministry.

The report said Iran should stop waiting for a settlement of maritime border disputes with Kuwait which have lingered for more than 60 years and should immediately start drilling at Arash, a natural gas reserve known as al-Durra in Kuwait. 

It comes a day after Kuwaiti Oil Minister Saad Al-Barrak said that he had been surprised by Iran’s plans to develop the offshore gas field while reiterating previous statements from Kuwaiti authorities indicating that the country and Saudi Arabia own exclusive rights to the natural resources of the field.

Kuwait and Saudi Arabia announced in early 2022 that they had reached an agreement to jointly produce 1 billion cubic feet (28.3 million cubic meters) per day and 84,000 barrels per day of condensates from Durra.

That caused Iranian Oil Minister Javad Owji to post a tweet to say that Iran will soon install a drilling jacket at Arash field to resume development operations that had been halted in 2001 after Kuwait threatened to lodge a complaint against Iran in international courts.

The report by Tasnim said that estimates suggest that more than 70% of the resources of the disputed gas field, which is believed to contain up to 60 trillion cubic feet (1.7 trillion cubic meters) of gas, lie in waters claimed by Iran under the dispute with Kuwait. 

It said Monday comments by Al-Barrak represented a “theft of Iranian gas reserves in broad daylight”.

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