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Wed 16 Jun 2010 05:35 AM

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Saudi Aramco adds 13tn ft of non associated gas

Gas supplies to feed growing domestic demand for electricity and support industries.

Saudi Aramco adds 13tn ft of non associated gas
GAS RESERVES: In 2009, Saudi Aramco added 13.2tn cubic feet of non associated natural gas reserves as it sought to boost resources to fuel power plants. (Getty Images)

Saudi Aramco, Saudi Arabia’s state oil and gas producer, added 13.2 trillion cubic feet of non associated natural gas reserves in 2009 as it sought to boost resources to fuel power plants and economic growth.

Total recoverable gas reserves rose 4.6 percent to 275 trillion cubic feet, Saudi Aramco said in its annual review posted on its website today.

The company completed seven gas exploration wells, 119 development wells and discovered the Sanaman deposit last year.

Saudi Arabia, the largest Gulf Arab economy, is seeking new gas supplies to feed growing demand for electricity and support industries such as petrochemicals.

The holder of the world’s largest crude oil reserves is looking at alternative energy sources such as solar power to desalinate water and fuel oil to fire power plants to save natural gas for industrial projects.

The state company produced on average 8.6 billion cubic feet of gas a day last year and plans to expand capacity by 4.5 billion cubic feet a day by 2014, it said in the review.

Aramco is drilling a record number of wells to find more resources and boost gas output, Oil Minister Ali al Naimi said in December.

The company aims to add value by expanding refining and petrochemical output and gas production to meet rising domestic demand, its chief executive officer said last month.

While presenting the company's businesss plan to management, Khalid Al Falih said: “We are increasing our efforts to find and develop gas."

In a statement posted on the company website last month, he said: “We will remain engaged in helping to optimize the Kingdom’s energy consumption."

Aramco discovered non associated gas reserves at the Sanaman field, 136 kilometers (84 miles) southeast of Riyadh. The company is seeking to increase the proportion on non associated gas, or fuel extracted from a field that is not combined with crude oil, in its portfolio as output from such areas won’t be limited by OPEC quotas that curb oil production.

Gas flowed from a test well at the Sanaman field at a rate of 8 million cubic feet a day, Aramco said. Other gas supplies were found along with oil in the Sirayyan deposit.

Aramco last year completed an expansion project that boosted crude oil output capacity to 12 million barrels a day, completing a $100 billion investment program.

The company plans to invest more than $120 billion in the next six years on crude oil and petrochemical projects, chief executive officer Khalid al Falih said Jan 31.

The company aims to complete its Karan gas program in 2013 to deliver 1.8 million cubic feet a day from an offshore field for processing at Khursaniyah.

A gas processing plant there is set to come on stream this month, Aramco said.

Saudi Arabia, the largest member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its defacto leader, has led production cuts announced in 2008 to support prices.

Aramco has about 4 million barrels a day of unused oil output capacity because of the output quota.

Saudi Arabia’s energy demand will rise to 8.3 million barrels a day of oil equivalent in 2028 from 3.4 million barrels last year unless it becomes more efficient, al Falih said in a speech posted on the website April 26. Improved efficiency may reduce that demand growth by 50 percent, he said.

Aramco aims to discover a minimum 5 trillion cubic feet (142 billion cubic meters) of so called non associated gas reserves annually, al-Naimi said in December.

It opened areas for exploration in partnerships with Royal Dutch Shell, China Petroleum & Chemical Corp, known as Sinopec, OAO Lukoil and Eni SpA.

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