Saudi Aramco to Attract $150bn in Investment for Gas Programme
2018-11-28    [Source:thenational]

Saudi Aramco wants to attract around $150 billion (Dh551bn) in investment over the next decade to nearly double gas its production, according to the company chief executive.

Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest exporter of crude, has been ramping up investment and production capacity for the commodity as it looks to switch its utilities to gas-fired plants and free up more oil for the export market. The kingdom is also looking to add more renewables capacity and start a nuclear programme to fuel its power stations.

"Our gas programme will attract $150bn worth of investments over the next 10 years and with production reaching almost 25 million cubic feet per day from the current average of 14 million cubic feet per day,” Amin Nasser, president and chief executive of the Saudi state producer, told a chemicals conference in Dubai on Tuesday.

Around 55 per cent of utilities in Saudi Arabia are gas based today, said Mr Nasser.

“We’re looking to have 70 to 75 per cent of our utilities gas based and the rest will be handled by renewables and nuclear energy. We’re looking to be a major player in gas. Gas will be 50 per cent [of the utilities mix] by 2040 and has a better impact on the environment, in terms of climate change,” he said.

Mr Nasser also added that around $100bn worth of investments would be made in developing the country’s chemicals sector over the next decade, including strategic acquisitions to feed growing demand for products, mainly in China and India. Already the company is in talks to acquire 70 per cent of Saudi Basic Industries Corporation, the region's biggest petchem producer.

"We are expanding this business both in Saudi Arabia and in fast-growing overseas markets like China and India, with the aim of converting two million barrels per day of crude oil into petrochemicals—and we may eventually move our target higher to three million barrels,” he said.

Aramco, which has around 4.2 per cent of global proven reserves for gas, has expanded its search for the cleaner fuel to include exploration for unconventional resources in the kingdom. The producer hired US oil services firm Halliburton to help unlock shale gas reserves, which it wants to add to its utilities sector as well as act as feedstock for the domestic chemicals sector.

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