On Monday, Amin Al-Nasser, CEO of Saudi Aramco, said during a conference on the marketing of unconventional resources, that the company expects the Jafurah field to provide nearly two billion cubic feet per day (q/m/d) of gas by 2030.
Unconventional resources are those that need advanced extraction methods, such as those used in the shale gas industry.
Al-Jafurah is the largest non-associated gas field in the Kingdom, and its reserves are estimated at 200 trillion cubic feet of raw gas, and Saudi Arabia is seeking to start production from it in early 2024.
Researcher and economic analyst, Ali Al-Hazmi, confirms in his interview with Al-Hurra that his country’s announcement of investment in the Al-Jafurah field comes within the framework of “the Kingdom’s direction towards diversifying its energy portfolio, and we are talking about the energy that runs our electricity.”
Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter, is developing its unconventional gas reserves. Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman Al Saud said at the conference that the Jafurah field project would not cost the state budget more than five to six billion riyals (1.3 to 1.6 billion dollars).
Al-Hazmi explains that “investment of 5 to 6 billion is considered not large numbers as a first stage, due to the cumulative experiences that Aramco enjoys in terms of exploration, which helps to reduce the costs of discoveries, and until 2035 investments in gas fields will reach 110 billion riyals, or approximately 24 billion dollar”.
Al-Hazmi points out that the production of the Jafurah field will have significant economic repercussions on the Kingdom, explaining, “What occupies our electricity is fossil oil greatly, and the Kingdom wants gas to work alongside fossil oil, which contributes to saving money and causing oil benefits. To export abroad, and this is one of the goals that the Kingdom aspires to.”
Aramco said on its website that it expects sales gas production to reach about 2.2 billion cubic feet per day by 2036, in addition to 425 million cubic feet per day associated with ethane. It added that the Jafurah field will produce about 550,000 barrels per day of gas liquids and condensate.
Al-Hazmi explains that Al-Jafoura is a very large field, extending 170 kilometers in length and 100 kilometers in width, “and they are talking about two trillion cubic feet, and investments in general in it will reach 412 billion riyals, or 110 billion dollars, and this is in stages until 2036, a number that represents approximately 25 percent of current production.
And she added, “The production of this field is not only gas, but will include 130 thousand barrels of methane, a figure that represents approximately 42 percent of the current production, and approximately 500 thousand barrels per day of condensate liquids, and this represents 35 percent of the current production.”
global policy making
Saudi Arabia also aspires to be one of the influential in shaping global policies in the gas market, as is the case in the global oil market.
Al-Hazmi says, “The quantities of gas through the production of the Al-Jafoura field will exceed the Kingdom’s needs, and may be ready to become in the future, and we have noticed the gas crisis that occurred in Europe and how it affected prices, which reached levels that they have not reached since 2013, due to either an artificial political crisis from Russia, Or a lack of supplies, and the Kingdom may contribute to this field, and other fields that it recently discovered, in stabilizing gas prices worldwide.”
Al-Hazmi added: “Just as the Kingdom is now contributing to shaping economic policies and maintaining energy prices through oil, gas will enter side by side in this matter, at a time when global industries rely heavily on fossil oil and gas, directly or indirectly.” .
Internally, experts indicate that investment in the Jafurah field will positively affect energy prices and electricity bills.
The Saudi economist, Fahd Al-Thunayan, told Al-Hurra website that “the primary target of this field’s production will be directed to local consumption at the beginning.”
He added, “The priority is for local consumption and local industries, because the Kingdom really needs gas for electricity, and for the development of its chemical industries.”
In this context, Al-Hazmi told Al-Hurra website: “Today’s electricity bills are high in the Kingdom, perhaps because fossil oil derivatives are the ones that work greatly, which affects prices, but the Jafurah field will positively affect prices internally, whether on electricity bills in factories. And companies in the Kingdom or even the average consumer, as it will contribute to the issue of electrical interconnection between Arab countries.”
And Saudi Arabia concluded an agreement with Egypt for the electrical connection, “and soon there will be a link between the Kingdom and Jordan, and it may go beyond European countries such as Greece due to its proximity to Egypt, and perhaps also with some Gulf countries due to the geographical proximity, with the exception of Qatar, which is one of the world’s gas suppliers.” According to Al-Hazmi.
Second place.. Saudi Arabia competes with Qatar
On whether gas will be a new competitive path between Saudi Arabia and Qatar, as well as Egypt, he said, “We are talking about free markets, but even if there is competition, they serve all parties, including producers and consumers at the same time.”
He explained that “for the consumer, the greater the number of producers, the lower the prices, and at the same time the producers, including the Kingdom, of course, will be able to access global markets that they did not reach before.”
He pointed out that Al-Jafoura is the largest gas field in the Kingdom so far, “and there are other discoveries that took place in mid-2019, but work on them is still ongoing until there are confirmations that they are commercially viable fields, or that there is a feasibility to extract gas from them, but there are great confirmations that reach It is estimated that 90 percent of these discoveries are suitable for commercial work and exploration.
He added, “Initial indicators say that the Kingdom will become the third gas producer in the world after Russia and Qatar, but I believe that there are large investments in other fields, which may make the Kingdom second in the world in gas production in the future, after Russia.”
gas and climate change
Saudi Arabia’s announcement of investment in the Jafurah gas field, which will produce a type of fossil fuel, raises questions about the Kingdom’s intention to fulfill its commitments to combat climate change, reduce harmful emissions and rely on clean energy.
And the kingdom said last October, days before the Conference of Parties (COP26) in Glasgow to combat climate change, that it aims to bring greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2060.
Al-Hazmi says, “The world is now already talking about renewable energy, but I am completely confident that the renewable energy that they are talking about is at the levels of 2050 to 2060 or later, that is, we have at least 30 to 35 years to reach a degree of progress in renewable energy, so I I think the world needs more of these discoveries.”
And he added, “I assure you that there is a large market that absorbs all these discovered products,” referring to Europe, “which relies heavily on gas, and its efforts to implement Nord Stream 2 from Russia, which the United States is trying hard to stop, due to Russian pressure on Ukraine and the occupation of Ukraine.” Crimea, so the world still has a great need for gas discoveries.”
The Saudi economist, Fahd Al-Thunayan, believes that the timing of the investment announcement in the Al-Jafurah field is “appropriate because the Kingdom has reserves and targets in terms of its energy products strategy, which targets energy with lower emissions.”
Amin Al-Nasser, CEO of Aramco, considered Monday that “gas is the cornerstone of the transition to renewable energy sources.”
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