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Tue 30 Nov 2010 04:18 PM

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Saudi gas demand rising at 5-6% a year - Aramco

Kingdom expending a 'lot of effort in adopting energy efficient programmes to curtail demand'

Saudi gas demand rising at 5-6% a year - Aramco
GROWING DEMAND: Saudi Arabias gas demand is growing 5-6% annually despite trying to curb domestic consumption

Saudi Arabia's gas demand is growing 5 to 6 percent annually but the world's top oil exporter is trying to curb domestic consumption, an executive from state oil giant Saudi Aramco said on Tuesday.

"Annual growth is around 5-6 percent and is going to continue at this level as things stand now," Ahmed Al Sa'adi, vice president of gas operations at Aramco, told Reuters on the sidelines of an industry conference in Doha.

"There is a lot of effort in adopting energy efficient programmes to curtail demand," he said when asked about what could contribute to a drop in demand.

Saudi is raising gas production from non associated gas fields to cater for rising domestic demand which has been growing by 7 percent annually in recent years due to an economic boom fuelled by the oil price rally.

Aramco is currently developing Karan, its first non associated offshore gas field project, which is expected to be completed in 2013.

It is also working on two new projects, the Wasit gas development programme and Shaybah natural gas liquids (NGL) which Sa'adi said would be online by mid-2014.

Wasit, along with Khursaniyah and Karan gas plants, would help the kingdom process its targeted production increase of unprocessed natural gas to 15.5 billion cubic feet per day (cfd) by 2015 from 10.2 billion cfd.

Aramco is currently reviewing onshore bids for Wasit.

Wasit would be designed to process 2.5 billion cfdf gas from the offshore non associated sour gas fields Arabiyah and Hasbah and produce around 1.75 billion cfd of sales gas.

Sa'adi did not give a cost estimate for the Wasit and Shaybah NGL programme. Industry sources said Wasit would cost between $6bn and $8bn while Shaybah's cost ranges between $5bn and $6bn.

Aramco's gas reserves stood at 275.2 trillion cubic feet in 2009, of which 50 percent was not associated with oil output.

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