Kuwait will start drilling at the Al Durra offshore gasfield without waiting for a maritime border demarcation dispute with Iran to be resolved, Oil Minister Saad Al Barrak told Sky Arabia on Thursday.
Mr Al Barrak has previously said that Kuwait and Saudi Arabia have “exclusive rights” to the Al Durra field in the Arabian Gulf, and called on Iran to validate its claim to the field by demarcating its own maritime borders first.
Kuwait has also previously called on Iran to start negotiations over the demarcation of its maritime borders.
“The maritime area where Al Durra offshore field lies is part of the State of Kuwait’s sea territories, and the natural resources therein are shared between Kuwait and Saudi Arabia,” a source within the Foreign Ministry said, as reported by state news agency Kuna.
“Only the State of Kuwait and Saudi Arabia have exclusive rights to the natural resources of Al Durra field,” the ministry source reiterated.
Iran previously claimed a stake in the field and described a Saudi-Kuwaiti agreement signed last year to develop the field as “illegal”.
Al Durra, which lies in the shared neutral zone between Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, is expected to produce one billion cubic feet per day of gas and 84,000 barrels per day of condensate.
Condensate is low-density mixture of hydrocarbon liquids present as gaseous components in natural gas produced in many fields.
Iran has claimed it owns rights to part of the field, which it calls Arash, and has vowed to proceed with the development of what it considers its own sector.
In 2016 Saudi Arabia and Kuwait reported attacks by the Iranian Navy in the waters adjacent to the neutral zone.
The Al Durra field dispute dates back to the 1960s, when Iran and Kuwait each awarded an offshore concession, one to the former Anglo-Iranian Petroleum Co, which became part of BP, and one to Royal Dutch Shell.