August 1, 2023

Rising Tensions: Could Al-Durra Dispute Ignite Renewed Conflict Between Iran and Saudi Arabia?

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by Farhad Rezaei, Senior Research Fellow

Rising tensions over the disputed offshore gas field Al-Durra threaten to reignite conflict between Iran and Saudi Arabia, posing a challenge to their newly re-established relations and requiring international attention to prevent potential escalation.

The escalating tension between Iran and Saudi Arabia over the disputed offshore gas field is presenting the first serious challenge to the newly re-established relations between these two rival nations following their diplomatic thaw in March 2023.

Iran is gearing up to start drilling in the disputed field, arguing that 40 percent of the field is located within its territorial waters. Saudi Arabia counters by asserting “exclusive rights” and accusing Iran of violating principles of international relations. The conflict isn’t limited to these two rivals, with Kuwait asserting its joint ownership of the field with Saudi Arabia, dismissing Iran’s right to exploit it.