Kuwait ratifies agreement with Saudi Arabia on maritime boundaries

Jul 13, 2000 02:00 AM

Kuwait's parliament unanimously ratified an agreement with Saudi Arabia delineating their maritime border in an area rich in oil and gas.
The agreement was concluded during Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah's visit to Kuwait. It opens the door for the two Gulf nations to settle a dispute over a gas field with Iran. All 53 lawmakers and Cabinet members who attended the session voted for the ratification. Ministers have the right to vote in the legislature. "These days have been historic for Kuwait," lawmaker Mishari al-Anjari told the house before the vote. "After 35 years of concluding the land borders (with Saudi), we draw the curtain on the issue." The two Gulf nations demarcated their land boundaries in the so-called neutral zone in 1965, agreeing to share oil production in the region.
The agreement practically extends the neutral zone into the Gulf waters, where they will also equally share the resources.

Kuwait and Saudi Arabia held talks to demarcate the maritime border after Iran started drilling for gas in the Dorra field, which lies in disputed waters shared by Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iran.
According to the new line which goes through the field, Kuwait and Saudi will share the part that falls in the maritime neutral zone. Kuwait will now negotiate with Tehran about the other part that falls in the undemarcated area between them.
Iran halted drilling in the Dorra field to avoid tensions after Kuwaiti protests. Dorra's reserves are estimated at 13 tcf. Lawmaker Mohammad al-Saqer said in Parliament Dorra has three to 5 % of the world's gas reserves. Kuwait has said the field, which lies 37 miles (59.2 km) off the Kuwaiti coast, was discovered in 1967, but Kuwait opted not to exploit it before the ownership issue was settled.
Kuwait is rich in oil, but poor in natural gas. It is planning to buy large amounts of the resource from Qatar.

Source: AP via Newspage
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