Saudi Arabia’s state oil company has discovered two new oil and gas fields in the northern part of the country, the Saudi Press Agency reported, citing Energy Minister Abdulaziz bin Salman. The fields’ reserves have yet to be established accurately, but they are both already producing gas, condensates, and oil.
One of the fields, Hadabat Al-Hajara, is pumping 16 million cu ft of gas daily, plus 1,944 barrels of condensates, and the other, Abraq at-Tulul, is producing some 3,000 barrels of crude daily as well as 49,000 barrels of condensates daily, and 1.1 million cu ft of gas.
More oil production is hardly what Saudi Arabia—or any other producer—really needs right now, but, according to analysts, the two new finds could contribute to its non-oil hydrocarbons production—something the Kingdom is striving for as part of its diversification efforts. A lot of the oil Aramco produces is used locally for power generation, and the company—and the government—is trying to reduce this by replacing oil with gas. To do that, gas production needs to increase.
What’s more, switching to gas would free more oil for exports, the thinking in Riyadh went before the pandemic that devastated demand for oil. Saudi Arabia is the seventh-largest natural gas market in the world, according to Aramco, which is the sole supplier of the commodity locally.
Saudi Arabia had some 303 trillion cu ft in natural gas reserves as of 2017, which accounts for 4 percent of the global total and makes the Kingdom the world’s fifth-largest holder of natural gas reserves. According to Worldometers, this amount is enough for 79 years of consumption at current levels, which average 3.614 billion cu ft annually. This makes the twin discovery in the north all the more important for Saudi Arabia’s gas ambitions.