Saudi gas output to rise 'by more than 50% by 2020'

Intensified exploration and new recovery technology will boost Saudi Arabia’s gas production by more than 50 per cent in 2020, according to its state oil operator, Saudi Aramco. Huge exploration and drilling programme investment have already created a huge increase in the kingdom’s natural gas reserves to nearly 275 trillion cubic feet (tcf) at the end of 2009, up from around 181 tcf in 1990, figures from Saudi Aramco's recently released 2009 report show. New discoveries and higher recovery rates have also raised the country’s non-associated gas deposits to more than half of total gas resources at the end of last year compared to about 25 per cent in 1990.

“Finding additional gas reserves is a priority for Saudi Aramco, and our exploration programme has yielded tremendous success over the years,” according to the report. “We have set ourselves the goal of discovering between three tcf and seven tcf of additional non-associated gas reserves annually, a figure we far exceeded in 2009 by adding nearly 13.2 tcf. We have made similar spectacular gains in the production of gas. In 1981, raw gas production was 1.65 billion cubic feet per day. In 2009, raw gas production reached 8.6 billion cubic feet, and for the first time the production of non-associated gas was greater than the production of associated gas. We project overall gas production levels to exceed 13 billion cubic feet per day by 2020.”

Saudi Aramco also said that gas demand in Saudi Arabia is soaring which will prompt the kingdom to step up efforts to find more gas. Natural gas is essential for the kingdom's electricity generation, desalination plants, petrochemical facilities and other industries according to the report.

“In addition to finding and developing new gas reserves, we are deploying technologies to raise production levels and maximise recovery in existing wells,” the report said. “Alternative techniques, based on hydrajetting technology, have been recently applied in a number of underperforming horizontal gas producers with excellent results.”

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