Kuwait’s Oil Minister, Saad Al Barrak, announced that Kuwait will begin drilling in the Al Durra offshore gasfield without waiting for a resolution to the maritime border demarcation dispute with Iran. Al Barrak had previously asserted that Kuwait and Saudi Arabia hold “exclusive rights” to the Al Durra field in the Arabian Gulf and urged Iran to validate its claim by demarcating its own maritime borders first.
Kuwait had previously called on Iran to initiate negotiations concerning the demarcation of maritime borders. A source within the Foreign Ministry emphasized that the maritime area containing the Al Durra offshore field belongs to the State of Kuwait’s sea territories, with natural resources shared between Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. The ministry source reiterated that only Kuwait and Saudi Arabia possess exclusive rights to the natural resources in the Al Durra field.
However, Iran has previously claimed a stake in the field, referring to it as Arash, and criticized the agreement signed between Saudi Arabia and Kuwait for the field’s development as “illegal.”
The Al Durra field, situated in the shared neutral zone between Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, is expected to produce significant amounts of gas and condensate. Condensate is a low-density mixture of hydrocarbon liquids found in natural gas fields. Iran remains determined to proceed with the development of what it considers to be its own sector within the field.
The dispute over the Al Durra field has a long history, dating back to the 1960s when both Iran and Kuwait granted offshore concessions, one to the former Anglo-Iranian Petroleum Co (now part of BP) and the other to Royal Dutch Shell. Incidents, including attacks by the Iranian Navy in the waters near the neutral zone, have added complexity to the situation over the years.