Saudi gas reserves up as Aramco taps shale to free oil
DHAHRAN, Saudi Arabia (Bloomberg) -- Saudi Arabia’s natural gas reserves rose last year as it explored for the fuel in the Red Sea and tapped shale gas to free more crude oil for export, according to the kingdom’s state-run oil company.
Saudi reserves increased to 288 Tcf of gas last year from 285 trillion in 2012, Saudi Arabian Oil Co. said May 15 in its annual review. The company is ready to use shale gas to fuel a 1,000-megawatt plant that will feed electricity to a large phosphate mining project, the company known as Saudi Aramco said.
“Saudi Arabia will be among the first countries outside North America to use shale gas for domestic power generation,” the company said. “We are actively exploring for unconventional gas resources,” which may be large in scale, it said.
The shale gas drive will help the kingdom free more diesel and crude oil for export, the company said. Gas is needed because domestic demand for energy has increased to the point where oil volumes intended for export “may decline to unacceptably low levels in the coming two decades,” it said.
Aramco said it is looking for unconventional gas in the northwest, the Empty Quarter desert, and near Ghawar, the world’s largest oil field. A “significant” gas field discovered in the Red Sea, called Shaur, is also “a potential game-changer in the future of the Kingdom’s energy mix,” the company said.
Saudi Aramco increased gas production last year to 11 Bcf a day, compared with 10.72 billion in 2012, it said in the review.