Kuwait, Saudi to discuss disputed gas field

Kuwait's energy minister plans to meet his Saudi counterpart Ali al-Nuaimi to discuss plans to develop the disputed Durra offshore gas field.

    Kuwait Energy Minister Ahmad al-Fahd to kickstart talks

    The emirate's energy minister, Shaikh Ahmad

    al-Fahd, said

     he would meet the Saudi oil minister before the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, expected to start around 26 October, according to the official KUNA news agency on Wednesday.

    Durra gas field is also claimed by Iran.

    The biggest part of the field is located on the Saudi-Kuwaiti common maritime borders, but a part of it also lies in Iran, said Shaikh Ahmad.

    He has added that the field will be first discussed with the Saudis before Kuwait decides whether to hold talks with Tehran.
      
    Earlier this month, Kuwait's energy ministry said the emirate planned to invite international bids soon to develop the gas field in cooperation with Saudi Arabia.

    Kuwait had been delaying plans for the gas field until completing negotiations with Iran for demarcating maritime borders, but has now decided to go ahead with the plan alongside the talks.

    Disputed area

    The dispute goes back to the 1960s, when Iran and Kuwait each awarded an offshore concession, the first to the former Anglo-Iranian Petroleum Company, which became part of BP, and the second to Royal Dutch/Shell.

    Dispute over Durra gas field dates back to the 1960s when Iran and Kuwait awarded offshore concessions that  overlapped.

    The two concessions overlapped in the northern part of the Durra field.
      
    After Iran began drilling at Durra in 2001, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia agreed on a maritime border deal which stipulated that the two countries jointly develop the natural resources of the offshore zone, including Durra.
      
    The two neighbouring Gulf Arab states set up a joint technical committee in April to draw up development plans.

    Kuwait is rich with oil, but not natural gas and plans to import gas by pipeline from Qatar to feed its power plants.
      
    Iran has also signed a memorandum of understanding to export natural gas to Kuwait.
      
    Shaikh Ahmad said the two countries held a “positive meeting” last week in Kuwait on the issue and the emirate would shortly send a delegation to Tehran to complete the talks.

    SOURCE: AFP


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