pressing ahead with a groundbreaking opening of its natural gas
reserves to foreign investors, has no intention of exporting gas in
the foreseeable future, a senior Saudi oil official said yesterday.|
Prince Faisal bin Turki bin Abdul Aziz, senior advisor at Saudi
Arabia's Ministry of Oil, told a conference in London that the kingdom
wanted to secure supply to meet soaring domestic and industrial gas
demand at competitive prices.
The kingdom short-listed last summer world firms for investment in its
upstream gas sector, the first such opening since Riyadh nationalized
oil exploration and production in the 1970s.
"We are ruling out exports of LNG (liquefied natural gas) at the
moment and for the foreseeable future," Prince Faisal said.
"There is good demand in Saudi Arabia and domestic demand far
outstrips the need for exports."
Non-associated gas production, motivated by a decline in Saudi
Arabia's Opec quota in 1984-1985 which resulted in a drop in
associated gas output, was needed for the kingdom's power generation,
desalination and water supplies projects as well as its booming
petrochemicals sector, he said.
Prince Faisal, speaking at the Royal Institute for International
Affairs, said gas demand was expected to increase by more than eight
billion cubic feet per day in 2012 from over three billion cubic feet
per day in 2000.
"There is a staggering growth in power consumption," he
said, adding that domestic sales of electricity grew from four million
gigawatt hours in 1974 to 97 million gigawatt in 1999.
Total gas demand in the kingdom was expected to increase more than
four fold in the next 25 years and a robust gas exploration program
would aim to plug consumption, he said.
Saudi Arabia is likely to sign in April memorandums of understanding
for three core gas projects and could sign deals by the end of this
year. Short listed companies include ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch/Shell ,
BP, TotalFinaElf, Phillips, Chevron, Texaco, Conoco, Enron/Oxy , Eni,
Source: Gulf News