Kuwait welcomes Iran's decision to stop work in disputed waters

Kuwait has welcomed a decision by Iran to stop drilling in a giant gas-condensate field in an offshore area claimed by three countries. Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Iran have been long sought a tripartite accord covering the area.


Kuwait has welcomed a decision by Iran to stop drilling in a giant gas-condensate field in an area claimed by three countries.

Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Iran have song sought a tripartite accord covering the area. Iran estimates reserves in Dorra gas field, in the disputed area, at 5 billion boe of gas and condensate.

A few months ago, Iran began drilling in the offshore Partitioned Neutral Zone between Saudi Arabia and Kuwait (see map, OGJ, July 20, 1998, p. 53).

For its part, Kuwait recently signed a contract with Royal Dutch/Shell to conduct seismic surveys of its offshore fields. Kuwaiti Oil Minister Sheikh Saud Nasser al-Sabah said he values the Iranian government's decision to stop drilling and described it as reflecting the depth of good relations between Kuwait and Iran.

The Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) disclosed that the Kuwaiti minister would soon visit Iran to discuss the issue. "Iran's drilling and exploration operations in the Dorra gas field are not aimed at creating tension with neighboring countries," IRNA quoted Iran's deputy petroleum minister for international affairs, Mehdi Hosseini, as saying.

In Tehran, Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi said Iran "welcomes Kuwait's readiness to hold talks with Tehran to demarcate boundaries of the continental shelf." He pointed out that Iran has for years been proposing talks on demarcation of the boundaries of the continental shelf between Iran and Kuwait. Kharrazi said he hopes the talks will be held as soon as possible.

Saudi Arabia also welcomed the step by Iran, saying the work stoppage was positive.

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