The Iranian National Oil Company (NIOC) has approved the development of the Esfandiar offshore oil field – an extension of the Partitioned Neutral Zone’s (PNZ: shared 50:50 by Kuwait and Saudi Arabia) Esfandiar field. Esfandiar sits to the south of Dorra gas field where a decision by Saudi Arabia and Kuwait to co-develop the field for $7bn earlier this year sparked official Iranian protest (MEES, 15 April). Iran claims that Dorra extends into its waters, where it is known as Arash.

According to 20 August comments to Oil Ministry press outlet Shana by Alireza Mehdizadeh, CEO of NIOC subsidiary Iranian Offshore Oil Company (IOOC), the first phase Esfandiar development will comprise of “the design, construction and installation of a well platform and the drilling of four production wells.” The CEO expects work to take 36 months but stopped short of placing a production target. (CONTINUED - 249 WORDS)