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Aramco to foray into gas

Energy giant on the right path

Kamel Al-Harami Independent Oil Analyst

Independent Oil Analyst INVESTING in the gas sector is another long-term plan for Saudi Aramco, the renowned energy company and the top oil exporter in the world.

It is planning to invest $150 billion on the gas program almost everywhere in search for gas in order to fulfill its long-term ambition of becoming the top oil and gas company. In fact, it is planning to increase its production to 23 billion cubic feet in the coming ten years and reduce its dependence on petroleum products. Aramco can save about 700,000 barrels of oil per day by switching to gas, and possibly save more money from selling the finished products. Saudi Arabia is going forward full blast to capture gas from Russia, USA and Australia and perhaps end in the Mediterranean region closer to home in the Red Sea area.

It looks like the focus of Saudi Aramco is extending beyond further oil explorations worldwide and is now opting for gas. This venture is going to be costly, and might require seeking financing from international markets to issue bonds for more than $10 billion.

The acquisition of SABIC alone is going to cost them more than $65 billion. Aramco currently has about 303 trillion cubic feet of gas, making it the fourth largest after Russia, Iran and Qatar.

Its gas production has increased to 12.5 billion cubic feet per day. How soon, how long and how much will it cost for Aramco to officially climb the ladder will depend on the upcoming discovery of gas in the Red Sea area. It is planning to start trading in gas by buying and selling perhaps before this summer. This will give the company some real market experience in buying gas for domestic use during the summer time.

It will be good start for the future plan to reach the level of exporting gas. Certainly, Saudi Aramco is in the right path to achieving more than one thing at the same time, which is searching for oil and gas overseas, investing heavily in petrochemicals, refining in more than five countries at the same time, and acquiring SABIC to make it a part of Aramco. They are all hardcore businesses, some of which are new to Aramco. It will be very expensive as it will cost billions of dollars and take a long time. Perhaps, this is the new phase of the new Aramco.

Adel Al-SaraawiBy Kamel Al-Harami
email: naftikuwaiti@yahoo. com

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