Kingdom has invited “serious foreign investors” into partnerships
in mega gas and oil projects with the aim of boosting the national
economy and creating more jobs, Minister of Petroleum and Mineral
Resources Ali Al-Naimi said here yesterday.
main goal is “to establish strong partnerships and alliances with
specialized international companies, and attract foreign
investments,” the minister told a three-day symposium which ends in
this Red Sea industrial city today.
partnerships should “build comprehensive industries, starting with
gas exploration and extraction ... and ending with vital projects
including power generation, water desalination and petrochemicals,”
first forum on investing in the development of the Madinah region was
a showcase of potential opportunities in oil, gas, petrochemicals,
mining, tourism, agriculture and transportation worth several billion
Governor Prince Muqrin opened the meeting on Monday by inviting
participants “to see the promising investment opportunities
available in the region,” and vowed to cut red tape.
event organized by the Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu was
attended among others by Prince Abdullah ibn Faisal ibn Turki,
governor of General Investment Authority, and Prince Saud ibn
Abdullah, governor of the Royal Commission of Jubail and Yanbu.
said investment in the gas projects will be accompanied by major
expansion and new ventures in the natural gas network. The national
oil company, Saudi Aramco, has been working to boost the network’s
capacity from the current 3.5 billion cubic feet per day to seven
billion daily in 2004, he said. This will boost gas supplies for
industrial use to Riyadh, eastern and western regions of the country.
on the prospects of investment in the Madinah Province, the minister
said the region, which is home to two major oil refineries, “will be
supplied with natural gas from the Eastern Province within two
has been under way for the past one year to deliver gas from Shedgum,
one of the gas gathering sites in the east, to Yanbu via a 1,200-km
pipeline. Upon its completion in mid-2003, it will carry about 300
million cubic feet of gas per day.
of dry gas will release a large quantity of ethane, which can be
utilized as a feedstock for petrochemical factories and can meet the
fuel needs of new industrial projects.
the Kingdom’s natural gas industry, he referred to the present and
future role of gas and highlighted the historical development of this
industry in the Kingdom. The development, he said, had passed through
four main phases and was now in its fifth phase.
first phase started with oil production in 1938 and lasted through
1975. The fifth phase was launched when the Kingdom invited foreign
investment in gas exploration, production and processing, as well as
linking these initial upstream resources with downstream processes.
recalled that the Kingdom has offered three mega gas projects to
foreign and local investors in the south Ghawhar field, Shaib-Kadan
area in the south and the northern Red Sea. The three locations cover
an area of 440,000 square kilometers, making it the world’s largest
areas for hydrocarbon investment, he said.
oil executives based in the Kingdom attending the forum said they were
expecting a decision on awarding the projects within “a few
weeks”, but Naimi said it was still in the preliminary stages.
“Nothing has been done so far. We are still in the preliminary
stages of assessing the projects,” he said.
want to see strategic partnerships between foreign and Saudi investors
and the state to achieve our goals of economic prosperity,” the
minister said. “No doubt, the challenges are immense and diverse,
the biggest of all being the sustained economic development at a rate
that exceeds that of population growth and establishment of a sturdy
industrial base capable of competition at the international level,”
Kingdom’s proven natural gas reserves grew by seven trillion cubic
feet in the past decade to 220 trillion, the fourth largest in the
Abdullah Juma, president and CEO of Saudi Aramco, said initial
assessments indicate that vast reserves of gas remain to be discovered
in many parts of the Kingdom.
“These findings are supported by public-domain information
from respected international organizations. The assessments suggest
that Saudi Arabia holds one of the largest and most accessible gas
reserves in the world,” he told the forum.
“The massive quantities of yet-to-be-discovered gas offer
investors the promise of major investment opportunities,” he added.
average consumption of gas per day in the Kingdom is about 3.4 billion
cubic feet. The per capita daily consumption exceeds that of
industrial countries such as Britain and Germany.
said Aramco’s long-term vision for hydrocarbon and related
businesses offers wide-ranging investment opportunities for both
domestic and international investors.
He outlined six areas — gas and associated products,
petrochemicals, refining, special utilities, engineering and
construction of petrochemical facilities and oil and gas reserves.