supermajor ExxonMobil may soon secure the coveted lead role in two
projects on offer in Saudi Arabia’s multibillion dollar natural gas
opening, industry sources said yesterday.
are certainly shaping up that way, but it is not a done deal yet,”
one source said.
Nelson, chairman and senior executive of ExxonMobil Saudi Arabia Inc.,
said the projects would pump a total of $25 billion into the national
economy and provide new investment opportunities to Saudi businessmen
who will have a basic role to play.
in other countries shows that for each dollar invested in the gas
sector five to eight dollars will be invested in support industries.
told Arab News that ExxonMobil, which expects a leadership role in one
or more projects, worked earnestly during the negotiation phase.
“The company has made full preparations to meet its commitments
immediately” once a deal is signed, he said.
world’s top energy firms have been angling for a stake in three
so-called “core ventures” on offer under the Saudi gas initiative
— the Kingdom’s biggest energy opening since nationalization in
results will be revealed in the next few weeks when the Saudi
ministerial committee is due to present its choices to the Supreme
Council for Petroleum and Mineral Affairs, the ultimate decision
would then sign memoranda of understanding, the biggest step forward
since Riyadh unveiled its energy investment opening to oil majors more
than two years ago.
Industry sources said ExxonMobil looks well-positioned for a
top slot in the largest project worth an estimated $15 billion —
core venture 1 (South Ghawar area development) — as well as in core
venture 2 (Red Sea area development). Anglo-Dutch oil giant Royal
Dutch/Shell is meanwhile tipped for the number one slot in core
venture 3 (Shaybah area development), industry sources said.
race to head the consortia has been intense as the lead company is
expected to operate the project and snare the biggest stake, regional
said the projects would go a long way in solving the unemployment
problem in the country. He explained that a large number of jobs would
be created directly in the gas projects. Besides, subsidiary
industries such as water desalination, power generation and
petrochemical ventures as well as support projects will generate jobs
in large numbers.
said it was a historic opportunity for the Kingdom to attract huge
investments in all economic sectors.
ExxonMobil and Royal Dutch/Shell have a history of involvement in the
Kingdom, the world’s biggest holder of oil reserves and fifth
largest gas reserves.
is the largest foreign direct investor in Saudi Arabia and the single
biggest buyer of the Kingdom’s oil.
Royal Dutch/Shell is the second biggest lifter of Saudi crude
oil and also has investment in the Kingdom.
following companies have been short-listed for the gas projects,
designed to help develop existing gas reserves and encourage
investment in downstream projects fed by gas supplies, such as power
and desalination: Core Venture 1 (South Ghawar): ExxonMobil, Royal
Dutch/Shell, BP, Chevron, TotalFinaElf and ENI.
Venture 2 (Red Sea): Enron/Oxy, ExxonMobil, TotalFinaElf, Marathon,
Royal Dutch/Shell and Conoco.
Core Venture 3 (Shaybah): Conoco, TotalFinaElf, Phillips,
Enron/Oxy, ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch/Shell and Marathon.
Although Saudi Arabia has lured the world’s biggest energy
firms by opening up the upstream gas sector, investment in its prized
oil sector remains off limits.