Aramco and Shell develop Empty Quarter gas JV

Aramco CEO says search for gas reserves in vast desert will continue

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The state-owned hydrocarbons giant Saudi Aramco are drawing up a plan with Anglo-Dutch supermajor Shell for the development of the Kidan gas field in the Kingdom’s vast Empty Quarter.

In an interview with the Saudi newspaper al-Hayat, Saudi Aramco’s CEO, Khalid al-Falih, said that an exploration well had already been drilled by a joint venture comprising of the two companies.

“The drilling outcome was promising for Shell and Aramco. Production from wells we drilled in Kidan is high and we still have to draw up a plan to develop it economically,” al-Falih is quoted as saying by the paper.

The joint venture South Rub al-Khali Co (SRAK), is one of a number of consortia exploring the vast region for gas. However, in the five years of exploration only minor discoveries have been made.

A similar joint venture involving Aramco and Chinese oil giant Sinopec has yielded no commercially viable gas and the costs incurred by the company are believed to be far higher than the projected US$300 million.

The KSA has made gas exploration a priority as the country ramps up it’s domestic petrochemical production facilities. Gas is used as a feedstock for petrochemical production and demand for the resource has soared in the KSA over the past few years.


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