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Saudi Arabia And Kuwait Claim Exclusive Ownership Of Contested Gas Field

Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have exclusive shared ownership of an offshore gas field that Iran has ambitions for, the Kuwaiti oil minister has said after Iran signaled it has plans for the field.

The exchange is taking place just as the two largest regional players in the Middle East began to warm up to each other.

In response to Iran statements that it owns a share of the field, Kuwait’s oil minister said this weekend that Saudi Arabia and Kuwait had “exclusive rights” to the Durra field.

"Until this moment, this is an exclusive right of Kuwait and Saudi Arabia in the Durra field, and whoever has a claim must start demarcating the borders. And if it has a right, it will take it according to the rules of international law," Saad Al Barak told Saudi media, as quoted by Reuters.

The statement follows an earlier one made by the Saudi Foreign Ministry, in which Riyadh also asserted the dual ownership of the field and called on Tehran to first demarcate its own maritime borders. Kuwait echoed the call.

“Iran must first enter into the demarcation of international borders, and after that, whoever has a right will get it according to the rules of international law,” Al Barak told Saudi media last week.

The declarations follow a meeting of the Saudi and Iranian energy ministers last week. At the meeting, Abdulaziz bin Salman and Javad Owji discussed investments in oil and gas, potential joint ventures, oil and gas trade, and the development of joint fields. 

Iran and Saudi Arabia share more than 28 oil and gas fields which have never been exploited due to disagreements in terms of the amount of exploitation and level of access. The two share Farzad A and B and Arash gas fields, with the Arash field also extending to Kuwait.

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The two regional rivals agreed in March to restore diplomatic relations and re-open embassies and missions in an agreement brokered by China after talks in Beijing.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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