Iran Reiterates Interest in Joint Gas Field With Kuwait

Iran Reiterates Interest in Joint Gas Field With KuwaitIran Reiterates Interest in Joint Gas Field With Kuwait

Iran and Kuwait are taking steps to reach an understanding to develop Arash Gas Field in the Persian Gulf, which has been a subject of dispute between Middle East countries over the years, an oil official said on Tuesday.

"In a preliminary step to develop Arash Gas Field, the Foreign Ministry has opened dialogue with Kuwaiti and Saudi governments," Karim Zobeydi, the deputy for planning at the National Iranian Oil Company, said.

Arash field, known as Aldorah in Kuwait, lies southwest of Kharg Island. Geographically, the field is shared between Iran and Kuwait, but Saudi Arabia has laid claim to the resource in recent years, according to the Oil and Gas Journal.

The field was reportedly discovered in 1967 by a Japanese company and Iran's investment. It holds an estimated 28 billion cubic meters of natural gas and also contains crude oil deposits.

According to Zobeydi, Iran's rapprochement with its Persian Gulf Arab neighbors is in line with a national policy to accelerate the development of joint oil and gas fields, though the government has placed a higher priority for shared fields with Iraq and Qatar such as the giant South Pars Gas Field and the joint fields in the so-called West Karun oil block at the Iran-Iraq border.

The Saudi kingdom reportedly fell out with Kuwait in 2013 over how to share the gas from Arash Gas Field on land.

Kuwait agreed with Riyadh in 2000 to jointly develop the field they desperately need to satisfy their growing gas thirst. But since then, little progress has been made to develop the offshore field.

Iran also faced Kuwait's backlash two years ago following reports that signaled Iran's willingness to take the initiative in developing Arash field.

Kuwait’s Foreign Ministry summoned Iran's charge d’affaires in 2015 after reports that Tehran had put the Arash field among a number of oil and gas projects up for development after the removal of sanctions.

  Joint Fields

Zobeydi mentioned Esfandiar, Foruzan, Farzad A and B, Hengam and Salman fields among Iran's top-priority projects in the Persian Gulf. 

Among those, Farzad B Gas Field is coveted by international oil and gas companies, particularly Indians who discovered the field nearly 10 years ago.

Zobeydi also pointed to fruitless negotiations with Muscat on developing the joint Hengam Oilfield located 70 kilometers off Iran’s shore in the Persian Gulf waters in Strait of Hormuz.

"The oilfield contains an ultra light grade of crude, which is more valuable than heavy crude. We have had some negotiations with Omanis to jointly develop the field, but to no avail," he said.

Data show Iran and Oman have separately tapped into the field's reserves, but production has been unstable and declining in recent years.

The oilfield has complexities that do not let oil be produced constantly, yet its capacity has been predicted to reach 30,000 barrels per day.

Zobeydi also said Esfandiar Oilfield shared with Saudi Arabia has piqued the interest of foreign companies, including a Norwegian oil and gas firm. 

Iran hopes to produce 12,000 barrels per day from the field in the first stage of development. 

Discovered in 1966, the joint field with Saudi Arabia has been one of the country's least developed oilfields. It is 95 kilometers southwest of Kharg Island in the Persian Gulf and holds an estimated 532 million barrels of crude oil.

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