Jubail & Yanbu Review

Al Falih ... prospecting in new frontiers

Al Falih ... prospecting in new frontiers

Drilling for gas in Red Sea subsalt

Saudi Arabia has increasingly focused on developing its non-associated gas reserves to meet rising demand for power, desalination and petrochemicals

SAUDI Aramco’s drilling effort in the Red Sea, a shallow-water well, has been a “success, with good gas production,” CEO Khalid Al Falih says adding that drilling is underway in the Saudi Red Sea deepwater.

“We are now drilling in the deeper waters with a drillship and we will know hopefully in the next few weeks, we will have our fingers crossed,” Al Falih says. “This is a deep play. Subsalt in deep waters, which is new for us. I’m happy we are performing extremely well, in terms of accessing the resource base and conducting the drilling programme.”

Saudi Aramco started its Red Sea drilling programme in 2012, he says.

“The Red Sea is one of the least explored areas,” Al Falih says. “The Saudi side was not explored at all.”

Saudi Arabia has increasingly focused on developing its non-associated gas reserves to meet rising demand for power generation, desalination and an expanding petrochemicals industry.

Al Falih described gas as being increasingly “the fuel of choice” for Saudi Arabia.

“Today, 50 per cent of our energy demand, including chemicals, is being provided by gas, gas liquids,” he says. “We have achieved a lot in providing gas as a very cost-effective basis to our utilities and industry, a growing population, a growing economy requires more energy. The liquids are starting to take more and more share of the energy mix and we are trying to extend that with development of more gas.”

Saudi Arabia is home the world’s fourth-largest gas reserves, estimated at 282.6 trillion cubic feet (tcf) in 2011. Saudi gas production reached an all-time high of 11.2 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) in 2011, according to Saudi Aramco.

Al Falih cites recent Saudi successes in the Gulf, citing, among other developments, the Karan Field, the first non-associated gas field found in Saudi waters.

Al Falih in October said Saudi Aramco planned to start production this year from the offshore Modeen gas field, discovered in the 1980s, while continuing extensive gas exploration activity.




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