KUWAIT CITY - Kuwait shares optimism with Saudi Arabia to resolve the dispute over the divided oil region, Kuwait's deputy foreign minister said on Monday.

He added that he hoped to close the page of the dispute in the near future and that he had heard the positive statements of the Saudi energy minister regarding the region.

The dispute dates back to 2009, after Saudi Arabia renewed, without reference to Kuwait, a contract with Chevron in the Wafra oil field in the divided region for 30 years.

The two countries halted production from the Khafji and Wafra fields in the divided region years ago. The Wafra field was shut down in 2015, deducting about 500,000 barrels per day (bpd), or 0.5% of global oil supplies.

Fields are disabled
Oil production in the divided region, which dates back to the 1920s agreements that established territorial boundaries, is equally divided between Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

The Wafra field is operated by Kuwait's state-run Kuwait Oil Company and Chevron on behalf of Saudi Arabia.

Tensions have erupted since the last decade, when Kuwait was outraged by a Saudi decision to extend the Chevron concession in Wafra until 2039 without consulting Kuwait.

Saudi Arabia closed the Khafji field in 2014 due to environmental problems, and in 2015 Chevron closed the Wafra field after failing to agree on operating rights with Kuwait.

Sources familiar with the field operations said that halting production was costly because tens of millions of dollars of investment were needed each year for maintenance.

One of the sources said that the divided zone "is the largest single origin in the world that was deliberately stopped and no longer productive for three years."

"The more delayed the resumption of production, the higher the cost of maintenance, and the more complex the resumption of the two fields may be quickly and completely."

Sources in the sector from both countries say that although Khafji and Wafra are not geographically connected, a deal on resuming production in one will be linked to the other.