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Saudi Arabia - Part 2 - The Oil Production Profile & Fields.

The state-owned Saudi Aramco's crude oil production reached 12.5m b/d in 2009 as it opened the 1.2m b/d Khurais field, the 100,000 b/d Nu'ayyem field, and expanded Shaybah field's capacity from 500,000 to 750,000 b/d. Saudi Aramco can get another 500,000 b/d from the Divided Zone it shares with Kuwait. Saudi Aramco's current crude oil output averages about 10m b/d, 2m b/d above its OPEC-set quota of 8.05m b/d - though none of OPEC's members has put a limit on production after its failed June 8, 2011 ministerial meeting. In addition, Saudi Aramco can produce up to 1.2m b/d of condensate and NGLs, which are excluded from OPEC quotas. Saudi Arabia's spare output capacity remains considerable, by far the largest in the world.

Saudi Aramco by end-2009 had completed a $100bn development programme which also boosted its natural gas production to 11,200 MCF/day which by 2015 will increase to 15,500 MCF/day, up from about 8,300 MCF/day in 2008. Saudi Aramco continues to work on development of the offshore Manifa oilfield, which will be used to offset falling oil production levels at some of the kingdom's older fields. Saudi Aramco plans to produce 500,000 b/d of heavy crude oil from Manifa from June 2013 and to be able to pump over 900,000 b/d by 2015. As it slows the addition of new oil production capacity, Saudi Aramco has moved its focus to development of additional gas supplies.

Saudi Aramco (SA) is keen to develop its huge unconventional gas resources to meet rising domestic demand. But costs there are still too high, despite the fact that Saudi Aramco has the most advanced E&P technologies (see gmt13SaudiGeoSep26-11).

The Wahhabi kingdom has deployed a 35,000-strong force to protect all the petroleum installations against the rising threat of terrorism. A wave of unrest rippling across the Arab world this year has uprooted regimes and spread fertile ground for terrorist groups. Prince Turki al-Faisal, former head of the Saudi intelligence and ex-ambassador to the UK and US, on Sept. 28, 2011 told the Royal Elcano Institute in Madrid billions of dollars spent on this force made its petroleum infrastructure "immune" from attack, even as governments from Tunisia to neighbouring Yemen's base for al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) upended all around it. He added: "With governance in Yemen, Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, Syria and other countries in such tenuous state, the perfect conditions for terrorist cells to take root and conduct desperateacts are created. But our kingdomremains stable and secure".

Riyadh began building the industrial security force in 2006 after a failed AQAP attack on the world's largest oil processing plant at Abqaiq. In 2009, around 85% of revenues were from oil and a surge in crude prices in 2011 should boost 2011 Saudi oil earnings to $300bn and average around $250bn per annum for the next five years.

SA is adding refining and petrochemical plants. Exporting refined oil products and plastics generates higher returns than shipping crudes and creates domestic jobs. Its 400,000 b/d refining JV with Total in Jubail will partly start up by end-2011 and a 400,000 b/d JV with Sinopec in Yanbu' will be on stream in 2014. SA and Dow Chemical have an integrated refining and petrochemical complex to be built in Jubail (see down14SaudiRefOct3-11, down15SaudiPetchmOct10-11 and down16SaudiPrivatPetchmOct17-11. See also omt16SaudiOverseasOct17-11).

SA is bringing in solar power technology from Showa Shell of Japan and other companies. SA and Shell are shareholders in Showa Shell. Huge solar and nuclear energy projects will make Saudi Arabia a big exporter of power (down12SaudiEnBasSep26-11).
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Publication:APS Review Oil Market Trends
Date:Oct 3, 2011
Words:620
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