By Reem Shamseddine
Company's CEO reveals proposal to supply utilities, some industries to be finalised shortly.
Saudi Arabia will shortly finalise plans to build the largest ever gas plant in the kingdom to supply utilities and some industries, Saudi Aramco's chief executive, Khalid al-Falih has announced.
The new gas plant is expected to process more than 1.8 billion cubic feet per day (cfd) of gas, Falih told Reuters during an interview on the sidelines of a petrochemical plant inauguration.
"This plant (Wasit) will be the biggest gas plant we have ever built ... and this will go a long way to meet rising demand for utilities and some industries," Falih said.
"It will process all offshore non associated dry gas and this will go a long way to meet rising demand for utilities and some industries."
The Wasit gas development programme at Moneefa is split into several projects that include building gas processing facilities, two offshore gas platforms, one tie-in platform, subsea power and communication links and pipelines.
Canada's SNC-Lavalin said in September that it would provide engineering and design work and project management services for the project.
Saudi Arabia is short of gas to meet demand from power plants and industry. Energy consumption has risen in the world's top oil exporter in recent years as record oil export revenues fuelled an economic boom.
Saudi Arabia is experiencing annual gas demand growth of 7 percent.
Supplies from this gas plant will not be used as feedstock for the growing petrochemical sector in the kingdom.
"It will not have any NGL (natural gas liquids) ... it will not address any petrochemical production needed for olefins," Falih said.
Saudi oil minister Ali al-Naimi said in a speech at the inauguration of the $10.3 billion Rabigh Refining and Petrochemical (PetroRabigh) complex that the world's top oil exporter was looking to build more petrochemical facilitites which relied on liquid hydrocarbons for feedstock.
Aramco expects to see gas production from the Karan gas field come onshore in 2011, Falih said. Drilling at Karan began last year.
The state oil firm is also planning to start drilling in deeper offshore frontiers in 2012, Falih said.
"These are new frontiers offshore Saudi Arabia. We hope to find some gas in the subsalt geology there," he said.
"This is a new technical challenge the company is prepared to take on and we are optimistic." (Reuters)