The Kuwait oil ministry yesterday denied that it has started a joint oil development with neighboring Iran. \"There is no cooperation between the two sides in this regard,\" said the ministry assistant undersecretary for technical affairs Ali Sabt, cited by the official KUNA news agency. KUNA said Sabt was commenting on reports that an Iranian oil official said the two countries have started work on developing a joint oilfield. It was unclear which official he was referring to. Seifollah Khajavian, director of joint fields in the Iranian Offshore Oil Company, said last week that Tehran plans to produce 19,000 barrels of oil from its joint oil field with Kuwait, but he did not mention any cooperation deal. Kuwait and Iran have been involved in unsuccessful talks to resolve a decades-old dispute over a maritime border area that is rich with natural gas. The dispute dates back to the 1960s when Iran and Kuwait awarded offshore concessions to the former Anglo-Iranian Petroleum Co, now part of BP, and Royal Dutch/Shell that overlap in the northern part of the Dorra field. Recoverable gas reserves from Dorra are estimated at some 200 billion cubic metres (seven trillion cubic feet). The two countries also failed to implement a $7 billion 25-year deal signed in 2005 to supply Iranian gas to Kuwait. Ties between the two countries strained after a Kuwaiti court in May sentenced three people to death and two others to life in prison after convicting them of being members of an Iranian spy ring.