AFP: Kuwait plans to start exploration for natural gas in what it calls “undisputed” parts of the offshore Dorra field also claimed by neighboring Iran, a senior official said in comments published Monday. KUWAIT CITY, Jan 2 (AFP) – Kuwait plans to start exploration for natural gas in what it calls “undisputed” parts of the offshore Dorra field also claimed by neighboring Iran, a senior official said in comments published Monday.
“Talks with Iran are continuing over the continental shelf. But, we have decided to … start exploration in the undisputed part,” energy ministry undersecretary Issa al-Oun told Al-Siyassah daily.
The exploration will be carried out in coordination with Saudi Arabia, with whom Kuwait signed an agreement in 2000 to divide oil wealth in the offshore fields.
Oun said Kuwait will soon invite bids for seismic surveys of part of the Dorra field and other Kuwaiti offshore fields.
He said he did not expect Iran to object to the measure because “exploration will take place in the undisputed parts of the field.”
Iran and Kuwait have been negotiating for several years to demarcate their common maritime borders in what is known as the continental shelf which includes the gas-rich Dorra field.
Although progress has been achieved, no final deal has been reached between the two Gulf neighbors.
The dispute goes 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 overlapped in the northern part of the Dorra field.
Recoverable gas reserves from Dorra are estimated at some 200 billion cubic meters (seven trillion cubic feet), with potential daily output of between 17 million and 43 million cubic meters (600 million and 1.5 billion cubic feet).
Kuwait is rich in oil but badly needs the Dorra field because it lacks sufficient supplies of natural gas.
In March, the two countries signed a seven-billion-dollar 25-year deal under which Iran will supply some nine million cubic meters (300 million cubic feet) of natural gas a day to the emirate.
Delivery is scheduled to begin in 2007.