Iranian Oil Minister Javad Owji says the country will not stand idle in the face of any move by Kuwait or by Saudi Arabia on a disputed gas field in the Persian Gulf that could lead to a loss of rights for Tehran.
Owji made the remarks on Sunday, a day after Kuwait said the Arab country will start drilling at Durra field, known in Iran as Arash, without waiting for a settlement of maritime border disputes with Iran.
“If there is no intention for agreement and cooperation, Iran will plan (to protect its) rights and interests and production and exploration of those resources and will not tolerate any loss of its rights,” said the minister.
He said, however, that Tehran always welcomes a friendly settlement of border and maritime issues with its neighbors, adding that the country seeks joint production from all resources of Arash gas field.
The remarks came a day after Kuwaiti oil minister Saad Al Barrak said that the Arab country’s plans for production from the field will not wait for border demarcation with Iran.
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 of natural gas and 84,000 barrels per day of condensates from Durra.
That caused Owji to post a tweet at the time 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 maritime border demarcation dispute between Iran and Kuwait dates back to more than 60 years ago.
Some estimates suggest 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.