Saudi Arabia to invest $110bn in Al Jafura unconventional gas field

Development of the field would earn net income for the government of about $8.6bn annually

epa07989048 Visitors gather at Saudi's Aramco section during Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference (ADIPEC) in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, 11 November 2019. ADIPEC, a meeting place of the international oil and gas community, runs between 11 and 15 November 2019.  EPA/ALI HAIDER
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Saudi Arabia's oil giant Aramco is planning to invest $110 billion (Dh404bn) to develop unconventional gas reserves in the Al Jafura field in the eastern region of the kingdom, the state-run news agency reported on Saturday.

Development of the field is expected to generate over a period of 22 years a net income of $8.6 billion annually for the government and contribute an estimated $20bn to the country's gross domestic product, Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said, according to Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

Prince Mohammed directed that the field's gas production be allocated as a priority to domestic sectors such as manufacturing, electricity, water desalination and mining to keep pace with growth rates outlined by Vision 2030 economic transformation programme, SPA said.

The kingdom's Higher Committee for Hydrocarbons held a meeting on February 20, chaired by the Crown Prince, to review plans for developing Al Jafura field.

Located southeast of Ghawar, the world’s largest conventional oilfield, Al Jafura is the biggest non-conventional gas field discovered in the kingdom, spanning 170km long and 100km wide.

The volume of gas in Al Jafura deposits is estimated at 200 trillion cubic feet of wet gas and stages of its development will gradually increase gas production to 2.2 trillion cubic feet per year by 2036, SPA said.

The field is expected to produce 130,000 barrels per day of ethane, which represents about 40 per cent of the current production, and 500,000 barrels per day of gas liquids and condensates.

Saudi Aramco, which produces and sells crude on behalf of the kingdom, has been looking to increase the share of gas in its domestic and international portfolio.

Unconventional gas refers to reserves requiring advanced extraction methods, such as those used in the shale gas industry. Saudi Arabia aims to become a gas exporter by 2030.