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Saudi Arabia’s oil giant Aramco has discovered two unconventional natural gas fields in the eastern part of the country, Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said on Wednesday.
The Awtad unconventional gas field has been discovered southwest of the giant Ghawar field, and the AlDahna unconventional gas field has been discovered 230 kilometers (143 miles) southwest of Dhahran, the Saudi Press Agency reported, citing the energy minister.
“Prince Abdulaziz said that the importance of these discoveries lies in increasing the Kingdom’s natural gas reserves, which would, in turn, support the Kingdom’s strategies and help realize the objectives of the Liquid Fuel Displacement Program,” the press agency reported.
Saudi Arabia has a long-term plan to boost its natural gas production to help it replace oil in power generation and free up more crude for exports from the world’s top crude oil exporter.
Aramco says that it “plans to expand its gas business to meet the large and growing domestic demand for low-cost cleaner energy by increasing production and investing in additional infrastructure. This demand is driven by power generation, water desalination, petrochemical production, and other industrial consumption in the Kingdom.”
Being a key member of the OPEC+ pact, Saudi Arabia has seen a decline in its associated natural gas production from oilfields in recent years, but the development of non-associated, stand-alone gas fields has helped the Kingdom grow its gas production to records, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said earlier this year.
Back in 2000, the largest oil producer in OPEC did not produce any non-associated gas, but stand-alone gas developments have grown to account for 46 percent of its total gas production in 2020, the EIA said in January. Saudi Arabia was the sixth-largest natural gas producer in the world behind Russia, Iran, Qatar, the United States, and Turkmenistan in 2020, the EIA has estimated.
By Tom Kool for Oilprice.com
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Tom majored in International Business at Amsterdam’s Higher School of Economics, he is Oilprice.com's Head of Operations