Kuwait summons Iran diplomat to protest gas field remarks
KUWAIT CITY - Kuwait lodged an official protest with Iran on Tuesday over statements that Tehran plans to unilaterally develop a disputed gas field, the official KUNA news agency said.
Foreign ministry Undersecretary Khaled al-Jarallah summoned Iranian Charge d'Affaires Sayed Tahabi and handed him a protest letter over the statements made a few days ago by a top Iranian oil executive, KUNA said.
The head of Iran's Offshore Oil Co, Mahmoud Zirakchianzadeh, was quoted by Iranian media on Sunday as saying Tehran would unilaterally develop the Arash gas field if Kuwait does not accept an offer for joint development.
Jarallah told the Iranian diplomat that the disputed area, known as Dorra in Kuwait, is under negotiation between the two parties for border demarcation, said KUNA, citing a statement by the foreign ministry.
"The two parties should not take any unilateral action in the area until it has been demarcated," Jarallah told the Iranian diplomat.
Kuwait and Iran have been involved in unsuccessful talks for more than 10 years to resolve the decades-old dispute over their maritime border area, which is rich with natural gas.
Saudi Arabia is also a part of the dispute since it shares with Kuwait maritime gas and oil resources in the area.
The dispute dates back to the 1960s when Iran and Kuwait awarded offshore concessions to the former Anglo-Iranian Petroleum Co, now part of BP, and Royal Dutch/Shell that overlap in the northern part of the Dorra field.
Recoverable gas reserves from Dorra are estimated at some 200 billion cubic metres (seven trillion cubic feet).
Ties between the two countries strained after a Kuwaiti court in May sentenced three people to death and two others to life in prison after convicting them of being members of an Iranian spy ring.