Al-Durra gas field is exclusively owned by Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, and they alone have the right to its natural resources, Gulf ministers said on Thursday.
The Gulf Cooperation Council foreign ministers gathering in Riyadh also rejected “any claims that any other party has rights in this field or the submerged area adjacent to the area divided by its designated borders between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the State of Kuwait,” in a statement issued by the bloc.
In July, Iran’s oil minister said his country will “pursue its rights and interests regarding exploitation and exploration” of the field, which Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have criticized.
The Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan called on Iran to engage in negotiations to demarcate the eastern border of the area. Saad Al-Barrak, Kuwait’s oil minister, said he was surprised by the Iranian plan and added that the move from Tehran contradicts the basic principles of international relations.
“The ownership of the natural resources in the submerged area adjacent to the Saudi-Kuwaiti divided zone, including the entire Al Durra field, is joint ownership between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the State of Kuwait only, and they alone have full rights to exploit the wealth in that area,” the GCC statement said.
The Joint Al-Khafji Joint Operations, which comprises Kuwait Gulf Oil Company and Aramco for Gulf Operations, said on Thursday that production at the divided zone had resumed on Tuesday after the first phase after the completion of maintenance. In December both entities signed a memorandum of understanding to develop the field, which is expected to produce about one billion cubic feet of natural gas per day, along with 84,000 barrels of liquefied gas.
The Al-Durra gas field is a common submerged area between Saudi Arabia and Kuwait located in the Arabian Gulf. It is situated within the Al-Ahsa governorate, which is a part of the Eastern province of Saudi Arabia.
The discovery of this oil field dates back to the 1960s, which coincided with the commencement of the demarcation process for the maritime borders between Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.
The Al-Durra oil field’s strategic importance and the potential wealth it holds have attracted the attention of neighboring countries, particularly Iran.
The dispute over its ownership and exploitation rights arises from differing interpretations of maritime boundaries and conflicting claims by Tehran.
In 2001, Iran began granting contracts for its exploration, which prompted Saudi Arabia and Kuwait to finalize the demarcation of their maritime borders, which included the Al-Durra oil field.
GCC ministers also rejected Iranian occupation of the three UAE Islands of Greater Tunb, Lesser Tunb, and Abu Musa, calling on Tehran to consider Emirati efforts to resolve the issue through dialogue.
They stressed “support for the sovereignty of the United Arab Emirates over its three islands, territorial waters, airspace, continental shelf, and economic zone, as an indivisible part from the territory of the United Arab Emirates, and considering that any practices or actions carried out by Iran on the three islands are null, void and have no effect on the right of the sovereignty of the United Arab Emirates over its three islands.”