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Saudi Aramco Plans Shale U.S. Shale Gas Move

Shale rig Marcellus

Saudi Aramco, which has an ambitious plan to grow its natural gas business, is considering investing in the Marcellus shale gas assets of Norway’s Equinor in what would be the first-ever foray of Saudi Arabia’s oil giant into the natural gas business outside the Kingdom, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday, quoting people familiar with the plans.

Aramco is mulling over investing in Equinor’s Marcellus position either via a joint venture or by acquiring a stake in the operations, according to Bloomberg’s sources, who noted that talks between Aramco and Equinor are still at an initial stage.

The Saudi state oil company may also team up with other oil firms to get U.S. shale gas acreage, the sources told Bloomberg.

Equinor, for its part, operates assets in the Marcellus, in the Eagle Ford, and in the Bakken in the U.S.

The Norweian firm wants to add more acreage to its Appalachian gas assets, head of strategy Al Cook told Bloomberg earlier this year, while Equinor is also said to be considering selling some or all its operations in the Eagle Ford.

Aramco is in talks with many partners for a potential joint venture or partnership in order to grow its international gas position, chief executive Amin Nasser said last month.

Related: STEO: Brent To Average $70 This Year

In January this year, 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.

In November 2018, Nasser said that 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.

Saudi Aramco’s gas development program is expected to attract as much as US$150 billion in investments over the next decade, Nasser said.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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