Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest oil-exporting company, has discovered a number of new natural gasfields in different regions of the country, according to the state-run Saudi Press Agency (SPA).
The new gasfields were discovered in the central region, the Empty Quarter, near the northern border and in the eastern region of the country, the SPA reported on Sunday, citing the kingdom’s Minister of Energy, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman.
A natural gasfield named Shadun was discovered in the central region with a gas flow rate of 27 million standard cubic feet per day and 3,300 barrels of condensate. The field is located 180 kilometres south-east of Riyadh, it said.
The Shehab field in the Empty Quarter has a gas flow rate of 31 million standard cubic feet per day from Shehab-1.
Natural gas is also available in the Empty Quarter, 120km south-west of the Shaybah field, where the flow of gas from Al-Shorfa-2 well is at a rate of 16.9 million standard cubic feet per day with 50 barrels of condensate, according to the statement.
Another gasfield was discovered in the northern border region, 71km south-east of the city of Arar. Gas from the Umm Khanasser-1 well flowed at a rate of two million standard cubic feet per day with 295 barrels of condensate.
“The Samna field of unconventional natural gas was also discovered in the eastern region, south of the Ghawar field, 211km south-west of Dhahran city, where gas flowed from the Samna-2 well at a rate of 5.8 million standard cubic feet per day with 24 barrels of condensate,” Prince Abdulaziz said.
The discovery of new gasfields comes while global demand for natural gas soars as economies recover from the coronavirus-induced slowdown and countries focus on cutting emissions.
Global trade in liquefied natural gas rose 6 per cent to 380 million tonnes in 2021, according to a new report from Shell.
China, the world's second-largest economy, and South Korea led the growth in LNG demand in 2021. China surpassed Japan to become the world's largest importer amid a strong rebound from the pandemic, with its imports growing by 12 million tonnes to 79 million tonnes, the report said.
Saudi Arabia aims to become a gas exporter by 2030. It is also increasingly looking at using gas for domestic power needs in a bid to free up crude for exports.
Earlier this month, Saudi Aramco closed the $15.5 billion lease and leaseback deal for its gas pipeline that it agreed to in December with a group of companies led by BlackRock Real Assets and state-backed Hassana Investment Company.
The global consortium has acquired a 49 per cent stake in Aramco Gas Pipelines Company, a unit of the world’s biggest oil exporter, with Aramco retaining the 51 per cent majority stake as well as full ownership and operational control of the gas pipeline network.