By Souhail Karam
Saudi giant's chief exec says increase to meet soaring power demand in the kingdom.
Saudi Aramco plans to raise its daily gas supplies by 30 percent within five years to 8 billion cubic feet, Al-Hayat newspaper quoted its chief executive Khalid al-Falih as saying on Sunday.
Aramco will also increase its daily supplies in ethane to 1 billion cubic feet and those of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to 850,000 barrels, Al-Hayat quoted him as saying.
"Such increases will support the creation of many petrochemical industries," he said.
Demand for gas in the kingdom for power and industry is soaring due to an economic boom fuelled by the oil price rally of 2002-2008.
As most Saudi gas is produced in association with oil output, volumes fluctuate with oil production.
Saudi oil output is at one of its lowest levels since the most recent oil boom began as the kingdom and OPEC curb output to match rapidly falling demand. This has left gas supply in the kingdom tight.
Aramco inaugurates later on Sunday the first phase of a giant petrochemical complex managed by PetroRabigh, a Saudi-based joint-venture with Sumitomo Chemical.
The first phase cost the two partners 38 billion riyals ($10.1 billion) and a second phase will cost 25 billion riyals, Falih said in remarks carried by al-Eqtisadiah newspaper.
Falih also told the al-Watan newspaper that the firm would rely on bonds in addition to initial public offerings and Islamic loans to help finance joint ventures.
"Islamic banks and bonds will greatly account in (the financing) of joint-venture projects," he said.
Aramco plans to build two refineries in a joint-venture with French Total and ConocoPhillips and plans a giant petrochemical complex with Dow Chemical. (Reuters)