Saudi Aramco, Saudi Arabia’s national oil company, has announced that it has huge reserves of unconventional gas in the form of shale gas, which could double its proved gas reserves. Although many international companies have been disappointed by the lack of conventional gas findings in the kingdom, the potential for these new unconventional reserves looks promising.
Saudi Aramco is now favouring investment into natural gas over oil, and will aim to gather knowledge from IOC partners on how to best exploit the unconventional resource, bearing in mind that methods used in the USA may not necessarily translate well to the desert environment in Saudi Arabia. The kingdom’s demand for natural gas is reported to double over the next 10 years.
Saudi Aramco is the world’s biggest oil producer; its move into unconventionals will be a new direction for the company. Although the company has to date conducted its exploration of shale reserves on its own, it expects that international companies will have a role to play in implementing its agenda and has formed partnerships with Sinopec, Sumitomo, ExxonMobil, Shell and Total.
To support its growth into these new areas, the company launched a programme to train 1500 students in universities overseas.