Saudi Aramco makes gains from R&D ahead of listing

Significant investments in technology are helping oil giant to boost profits - report
By Sarah Townsend
Mon 04 Sep 2017 10:56 AM

Investments in technology and research are helping to boost profits and production at Saudi Arabia’s national oil company ahead of its planned initial public offering (IPO), analysts say.

BMI Research, part of Fitch Group, has claimed that continued technological advancements offer a strong upside to Saudi Aramco’s profit, reserves and production capability, despite a lower oil price environment.

The state-owned oil giant – soon to be part-privatised in an IPO expected to raise up to $100 billion – is investing heavily in R&D to enhance resource discovery and improve operational efficiencies.

Among the investments cited by BMI are a new seawater optimisation programme to increase offshore oil recovery, and a new pump system for oil capture, reducing the need for a rig.

Other innovative projects include the use of geochemical techniques, optimised drilling systems, 3D oil reservoir modelling to determine where the biggest supplies are, and autonomous machines.

However, there remain barriers to developing gas resources in the kingdom’s tight reservoirs, said BMI. These include low state-set gas prices and lack of foreign participation, as well as geological complexity and underdeveloped infrastructure.

Again, new technological investments will be required to overcome such barriers and bring resources to market.

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