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Iran Warns It Will Pursue Its Rights To Disputed Gas Field

Iran has said it would “pursue its rights” in a dispute with Saudi Arabia and Kuwait over a gas field.

The dispute flared up last month when Iran announced plans to start drilling at the field, which it calls Arash, while Kuwait and Saudi Arabia call it Dorra.

Following that announcement, Kuwait invited Iran to the negotiating table to discuss their maritime borders. Kuwait’s stance on the disputed field is that it and Saudi Arabia have exclusive rights to it.

"The State of Kuwait and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia... alone have exclusive rights to the natural wealth in the Al-Dorra field," the Kuwaiti foreign ministry said in a statement earlier this month.

In response, Iran’s oil minister said this weekend that Iran will seek to uphold its rights to the field in case Kuwait and Saudi Arabia continue to dispute the field’s ownership.

“If there is no willingness to cooperate, Iran will pursue its rights and benefits, including the exploitation and exploration of the Arash gas field, and will not tolerate any violation of its rights,” Javad Owji said, as quoted by state news agency Shana.

The Arash/Dorra field is estimated to hold some 310 million barrels of oil and 20 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Iran claims it holds the rights to 40% of the offshore field.

The flare-up in tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran comes just as the two made the first steps to a thaw in relations, including the resumption of diplomatic links and talks about an end to the war in Yemen.

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Kuwait and Saudi Arabia have called on Iran to first demarcate its own maritime border as a way of validating its claim to 40% of the Arash/Dorra field. Meanwhile, Kuwait plans to start drilling at the field and, according to the country’s oil minister, it will not wait for Iran.

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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