An important role for Iraq... Is it possible to launch "energy diplomacy" in the Gulf?
Shafaq News/ The British "Poor's and Bazaar" website wondered
whether it is possible to create a diplomatic force between the Gulf countries themselves, and between them and Iraq, by unifying the sources of oil and gas fields and cooperating among them.
The report of the British Research Foundation specializing in development and economic diplomacy in the Middle East and Central Asia stated, in a report published in English and translated by Shafak News Agency, that
in light of the movement of the main regional players in the region, towards dialogue and de-escalation and dialogue, as it became clear, for example, from the end of conflicts within countries The Gulf Cooperation Council, as well as with regard to Saudi and Emirati relations with Iran, the possibilities of achieving "regional energy diplomacy" must be considered. The report considered that
the joint oil and gas fields in the Arabian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman are areas that have not been greatly exploited in the field of bilateral and multilateral cooperation, noting that
Iran and Qatar share the largest gas reserves in the world, and
Iran also participates in more than twenty oil and gas fields in the Gulf. With the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council and Iraq,
in addition to the fact that there are many common fields between the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council and Iraq.
For example, the report pointed to
a meeting last March between the Saudi Minister of Energy and his Kuwaiti counterpart in order to sign an agreement to develop the joint Dora gas field, about 80 kilometers from the coast on the border between Saudi Arabia and Kuwait and at a distance adjacent to the shores of southwestern Iran., a field that can produce one billion cubic feet of natural gas and 84,000 barrels of condensate per day. The report added that
after the Saudi-Kuwaiti announcement, the Iranian Foreign Ministry quickly expressed its dissatisfaction, considering that any step towards a joint Saudi-Kuwaiti development of the field, which Iran calls the "Arash" field, must take place through cooperation between the three countries.
In a surprising situation, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait invited Iran to hold additional negotiations with a view to demarcating the eastern boundary of the energy-rich joint maritime zone, the report added.
Although the report pointed out that the proposed talks have not taken place so far,
the "Al-Durra-Arash" field is a clear example of how to turn an area of dispute into an area for cooperation, when the political and security environment in the region allows it. The report pointed out that
in order to transfer the energy resources produced by the region's fields, the countries in the region have long thought about establishing pipeline projects, such as a project between Iran and the Sultanate of Oman, as well as talks for the re-export of Iranian gas as liquefied natural gas by Qatar. It is from the Sultanate of Oman. However, the report indicated that
most of the common fields between the Gulf states are either untapped, or they are disputed, adding,
in the absence of cooperation agreements around them, these countries have chosen to develop and extract reserves on their own, noting that often, disputes have caused On the lines, the various extractive rights and privileges, in the emergence of tensions between the regional states. For example, the report stated that
Iran has opposed the claims of Kuwait and Saudi Arabia regarding the "Al-Durra-Arash" field since it was discovered during the 1960s, at a time when the maritime borders in the Gulf were not well defined and the neighboring countries did not care much about that.. He added that
a similar situation was also linked to the "South Pars - North Dome" field, which is a joint gas field between Iran and Qatar, where negotiations took place on the median line between the two countries before the discovery of the gas field in 1971, noting that
when Iran and Qatar defined their borders two years ago., the dependent factor behind the delimitation was equal distance.
Regarding the "Al-Durra-Arash" field, the report indicated that in the absence of a clear demarcation, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Iran asserted their sovereignty over the field by granting overlapping concession rights over the past five decades, adding that by the year 2000, they had reached Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have reached an agreement on offshore areas, allowing each of them to grant their own exploration concessions.
But in response to its exclusion from the negotiations, Iran deployed drilling equipment in the field in the following year, and a series of steps and responses have continued so far, which hindered the full exploitation of the field on the Saudi, Kuwaiti and Iranian sides. The report quoted
an expert in the energy sector, Wayne Ackerman, as saying that production from the "Al-Durra-Arash" field will not have an important impact on the global natural gas markets in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the increasing demand for energy resources, explaining that
the first reason for this is that the three countries, That is, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iran will need to use the extracted gas to meet their domestic energy needs. Regardless, the report considered that
the field's production would be important in terms of enhancing global gas reserves, in addition to creating an area for more comprehensive and multilateral cooperation in the region. The report concluded by saying that
"economic diplomacy, if implemented through joint projects such as the development of the "Al-Durra-Arash" gas field", could give a new impetus to relations between Iran and the Gulf Cooperation Council countries. He added that the
establishment of a long-term cooperation project for a joint development of the field represents a means by which to measure the "state of regional economic diplomacy" in the region and provides Iran and its neighbors in the Gulf Council with a means of expressing goodwill.
After the report indicated the existence of another potential field of cooperation, represented in the joint "Salman field" between Iran and the UAE, it pointed out that Iran and Iraq seem the closest to putting joint development plans into practice, as they are after years
In this context, the report said that countries and companies from Europe and Asia can participate and intervene in order to strengthen confidence-building measures among the Gulf states by proposing multilateral projects, adding that
external players, especially those who have the potential, can mediate and work with all From Iran and the Gulf states, to help the countries of the region in demarcating their borders based on international law, as well as by proposing multilateral projects that achieve profits for both parties, and invest in developing and exploiting the fields.
The report concluded by saying that the Gulf Cooperation Council Iran largely ignored the benefits of "unification", that is, through the joint development of oil and gas fields extending across two or more regions. The report stressed that
such "unification" would allow the Gulf Cooperation Council countries and Iran, in addition to external players such as European and Asian companies, to jointly contribute to the development of joint fields and also benefit from effective solutions through the costs of extraction, processing and export.
For this, the British report concludes by calling on regional leaders to take advantage of cooperation in the energy fields with the aim of creating common incentives, in order to make "regional diplomacy more sustainable."