Saudi Aramco to invest US$35 billion in oil exploration and development

Saudi Aramco invests US35mn in oilSaudi Aramco has announced its intention to pump US$35bn into its oil exploration and development programme over the next five years

The state-owned firm said it hoped to diversify its energy portfolio and boost earnings from downstream activities by growing and integrating chemicals with its refining operations.

Khalid al-Falih, chief executive of Aramco, said, “We are continuing to strengthen our oil business to meet the rising call on our oil production; in fact, we plan to invest US$35bn over the next five years in crude oil exploration and development alone to keep our oil production portfolio robust.

“We are also planning to increase our conventional and unconventional gas supplies by almost 250 per cent over the coming couple of decades,” he added.

Saudi Arabia has claimed that it plans to increase gas production to meet domestic energy demand and free up crude oil for export. The country, however, has yet to discover non-associated natural gas in sufficient quantities to replace oil as the fuel for planned electricity plants.

Non-associated natural gas would also act to guarantee cheap feedstock for new petrochemical factories across the country.

Aramco has previously said it planned to increase its refining capacity to eight million barrels per day from 4.02mn bpd in the next decade through expansion both at home and abroad.

“If we succeed with our strategy we will be spending at least US$500mn each year on chemicals-related technology and creating a very large company of around 20-30,000 employees with well-paid jobs,” al-Falih added.

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