(AFP, TEHRAN) - Kuwait's Oil Minister Sheikh Saud Nasser al-Sabah arrived in Tehran Monday for talks with Iranian officials, including the demarcation of a
maritime area rich in gas and oil, a source from Iran's oil ministry told AFP.
Sheikh Saud was welcomed by his Iranian counterpart Bijan Namdar-Zanganeh and is expected to stay in Tehran till Wednesday. He will meet Iranian President Mohammad Khatami on Tuesday, the source said.
In addition to the demarcation issue, "bilateral relations and the situation in the oil markets, as well as OPEC decisions," will be high on the agenda, the source added.
Iran is involved in a three-way dispute with Kuwait and Saudi Arabia over the demarcation of the border through the northern Gulf continental shelf which includes the Dorra gas field, estimated to contain three to five percent of the world's known gas reserves.
Sheikh Saud's visit to Tehran comes just two weeks after Kuwait and Saudi Arabia reached an agreement on the maritime border between them, seen as an essential preliminary for agreement with Iran.
The dispute became urgent when Iran started drilling at the Dorra field earlier this year. It halted the work on May 13 after complaints by Kuwait, while still maintaining that the field was part of Iranian territory.
Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi subsequently told a Saudi newspaper that Tehran was ready for direct talks with Kuwait to resolve the dispute over Dorra and that there were no "fundamental differences."
Earlier this month, Sheikh Sabah said that some of the talks would involve all three parties, others would be just between Kuwait and Iran.
Kuwait's parliament last week unanimously approved the July 2 border accord with Saudi Arabia, which gave the emirate control over all the uninhabited offshore islands and divided the resources equally between the two Gulf Arab allies, while leaving the actual share to be defined once the border with Iran has been demarcated.
Recoverable gas reserves of the Dorra field are estimated at some 21 billion cubic metres (seven trillion cubic feet), with a potential daily output of between 18 and 45 million cubic metres (600 million and 1.5 billion cubic feet.)
© Agence France Presse 2000
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )