Saudi Arabia could begin natural gas exports in five-six years as it has already begun talks with neighboring Gulf Arab states to build natural gas pipelines, S&P Global Platts quoted Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih as saying at the Gulf Intelligence energy forum in Riyadh on Monday.
The Saudis will soon launch feasibility studies for a pipeline out of the Kingdom to some of its allies in the Persian Gulf, according to the Saudi minister.
Large volumes of natural gas have been found in the Red Sea, the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) quoted al-Falih as saying last month.
In January this year, Saudi Aramco’s chief executive Amin Nasser told Reuters in an interview that the oil firm was looking to spend billions of U.S. dollars on natural gas acquisitions in the United States as part of Aramco’s strategy to bolster its gas business and become a global natural gas player.
At the end of February, Nasser said that Saudi Arabia aims to export as much as 3 billion cubic feet of gas per day by 2030 as part of its goal to boost the international footprint of its natural gas business.
Aramco will solely develop Saudi Arabia’s conventional and unconventional gas reserves, and the options for exports include exports via pipelines and LNG, according to Aramco’s top manager.
In November last year, Nasser said that Saudi Aramco, already a top global oil producer but not as strong in gas production, will boost efforts to grow its natural gas output, from both conventional and unconventional reserves. Related: Platts Survey: OPEC Oil Production Down To More Than 4-Year Low
Saudi Aramco’s gas development program is expected to attract as much as US$150 billion in investments over the next decade, Nasser said. Natural gas production is expected to jump to 23 billion standard cubic feet a day from the current 14 billion cubic feet a day, Aramco’s top executive said in Dubai a few months ago.
“We also have world-class unconventional gas resources that are rapidly supplementing our large conventional resources. Because a significant proportion of this unconventional gas is rich in both liquids and ethane, its production will play an important role in the further growth of the Kingdom’s chemicals sector,” Nasser said.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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