Saudi plans to boost gas production


An expert on the economics of the energy industry has said he expects Saudi Arabia's production of natural gas to increase to 13 billion cubic feet by 2020.

Dr Naif Al Otaibi, a professor of oil and natural gas engineering, told Gulf News that Saudi Arabia, by far the world's largest oil exporter, plans to supplement that vast energy supply by building its largest natural gas plant to supply other industries.

The Kingdom now produces 8.8 bcf of natural gas a day and has said it plans to extend this by another 4.2 billion by the end of the next decade. Saudia Arabia's known natural gas reserves make up four per cent of the world's total reserves.

"I expect that drilling for natural gas will continue despite the halt in oil drilling a few months ago by a royal decree to preserve petroleum for the coming generations as its policy is based on reinforcing its other natural resources to be added to oil," Al Otaibi said.

Al Otaibi noted that domestic gas consumption was rising and that Saudi Arabia's consumption of natural gas was more than that of members of the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development including Britain, Germany and Japan, despite it's smaller population.

The professor said it was expected that demand for the kingdom's gas would increase by five per cent a year in the next two decades, and domestic demand would also rise.

Minister of Oil and Mineral Wealth, Ali Al Naimi said Saudi Arabia was set to become one of the world's largest sources of natural gas when its production reaches 13 bcf in 2020.

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