Iran will “pursue its rights” to the Arash/Durra gas field if other nations refuse to cooperate, ministers have said.

Iran’s Oil Minister, Javad Owji, told Shana, the country’s fossil fuel news organisation: “If there is no willingness [on behalf of other sides] to reach an understanding and cooperate, Iran will safeguard its rights and interests, will put the exploitation and exploration of the aforementioned resources on the agenda, and will not tolerate any violation of its rights.

“The Islamic Republic [of Iran] all the time supports friendly settlement of border and maritime issues with neighbouring states.”

Owji added. “Regarding the exploitation of shared oil and gas fields, we have always sought to hold negotiations and reach an understanding with neighbours, and Iran also seeks the integrated and joint exploitation of the Arash field.”

The field, known as Arash by Iran and Durra by Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, is situated offshore in a neutral zone of the Gulf between Iran, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Last year, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait signed a deal for the joint development of the gas field without Iran, a move that Iran’s Government called “illegal”.

Earlier in July, Kuwait’s Oil Minister Saad Al Barrak called on Iran to demarcate its maritime border, as Kuwait and Saudi Arabia have “exclusive rights” to the field.

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Referring to Iran, Al Barrak stated: “Until this moment, this is an exclusive right of Kuwait and Saudi Arabia in the Durra field, and whoever has a claim must start demarcating the borders. And if it has a right, it will take it according to the rules of international law,” adding that “the other side has claims that are not based on a clear demarcation of the maritime borders”.

While the field has yet to begin production, Iran is still one of the leading forces of new oil and gas projects in the Middle East. By 2027, 45% of all new oil and gas projects expected to start operations are expected to be Iranian.