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Saudi Arabia has no intention of exporting gas in the foreseeable future
London, Feb 13th, 2001
Saudi Arabia, 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, and Marathon.
Source: Gulf News 

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15 February 2001 06:40:26 PM

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