Saudi Arabia and Kuwait Assert Ownership of Gas Field Amidst Iran's Claims

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Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have asserted their joint ownership and full rights over a disputed gas field in the Gulf, countering Iran's claims, according to state media reports on Tuesday. The gas field, referred to as Arash in Iran and Dorra in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, is at the center of a longstanding dispute dating back to the 1960s when Iran and Kuwait granted overlapping offshore concessions. The recoverable reserves of the field are estimated at around 220 billion cubic meters (seven trillion cubic feet).

Citing a source from the Saudi foreign ministry, the official Saudi Press Agency stated that the field belongs solely to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the State of Kuwait, emphasizing their exclusive rights. The statement came in response to Kuwait's invitation for Iran to engage in talks on their maritime borders, issued the previous day.

Last year, despite objections from Iran, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia signed an agreement to jointly develop the field, which Iran considers illegal. Mohsen Khojsteh Mehr, the managing director of the National Iranian Oil Company, recently stated that preparations for drilling in the Arash oil field are complete, adding that significant resources have been allocated for the implementation of the development plan.

The dispute over the gas field also involves Saudi Arabia, as it shares maritime gas and oil resources with Kuwait in the region. Iran and Kuwait have engaged in unsuccessful negotiations for many years regarding their disputed maritime border area, known for its abundant natural gas reserves.

The drilling of the field by Iran in 2001 prompted Kuwait and Saudi Arabia to reach a maritime border agreement, stipulating their joint development of the offshore zone.

In a surprising turn of events in March, Saudi Arabia and Iran brokered a reconciliation deal with the assistance of China. The agreement signaled a thaw in their strained relations after a seven-year rift, raising hopes for reduced tensions between the influential Middle Eastern powers.

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