Saudi Arabia has discovered significant reserves of gas in its Red Sea waters, a potentially significant gain that could bring the kingdom’s aspirations in the natural gas sector closer to fruition.

Saudi Red Sea gas discovery

Although the extent of the discovery cannot yet be gauged, as the official statement did not provide an estimate of the gas reserves discovered, Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said Saudi Aramco will conduct an investment feasibility study, based on which exploration will be intensified over the next two years.

The finding comes during a vital period in the kingdom’s campaign to position itself as one of the world’s top gas exporters. Saudi Aramco has set a production target of 23 billion cubic feet a day (cf/d) of gas by 2030, from about 14 billion cf/d currently, and the energy giant has undertaken key projects to boost output from conventional gas fields. It is also making progress with its drive to tap into unconventional gas deposits.

Kuwait, the UAE and Oman supply

Another manifestation of Riyadh’s gas ambitions is its plan to connect its grid with Kuwait, the UAE and Oman, and supply gas to these countries.

Aramco has meanwhile signed a framework agreement with Abu Dhabi National Oil Company of the UAE to cooperate in exploring business opportunities in the gas value chain, particularly in gas exploration and production overseas.

Aramco’s CEO Amin Nasser later said the company could spend “billions of dollars” on acquiring gas assets in the US.

As Saudi Arabia continues to pursue commercially feasible gas propositions abroad, the promise of more reserves at home in its Red Sea waters enhances the kingdom’s prospect of a swift ascent to a top spot in the international gas arena.

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