Saudi Aramco has awarded subsurface and engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts worth $10bn for the development of the Jafurah gas field.

The contracts have been awarded to 16 undisclosed domestic and international service companies for the Jafurah Gas Plant and gas compression facilities, as well as infrastructure and related surface facilities.

The contracts for the unconventional gas field mark the start of the company’s development phase.

Saudi Aramco expects the Jafurah field, which is claimed to be the largest non-associated gas field in the country, to require $68bn in investments over the next ten years of the development phase.

According to estimations, the Jafurah basin holds 200 trillion standard cubic feet of gas, making it the Middle East’s largest liquid-rich shale gas play.

The Saudi Arabian Oil giant said that the Jafurah field is a ‘major component of its unconventional gas programme which aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the national energy sector’.

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By GlobalData

Aramco president and CEO Amin Nasser said: “This is a pivotal moment in the commercialisation of Saudi Arabia’s vast unconventional resources programme.”

The Jafurah field is expected to make Saudi Arabia one of the largest natural gas producers in the world and aims to produce 200 million standard cubic feet per day (MMSCFD) of gas by 2025.

By 2030, the field’s production is expected to reach up to two billion standard cubic feet per day of gas, approximately 630,000 barrels per day of gas liquids and condensates, and 418MMSCFD of ethane.

Saudi Arabia Minister of Energy Abdulaziz bin Salman Al Saud said: “The development of Jafurah will positively contribute to the Kingdom’s energy mix and it has been made possible thanks to close co-operation between more than 17 different agencies.”

The field’s overall lifecycle investment is anticipated to reach more than $100bn.

The firm expects to create more than 200,000 direct and indirect jobs through its unconventional gas programme at the North Arabia, Jafurah, and South Ghawar fields.

According to the company, the Jafurah gas development, at peak production alone, would replace more than 300,000 barrels of crude oil a day.

Earlier this month, Aramco reported a net income of $30.4bn in the Q3 2021 from $11.8bn in the same period last year, due to the higher crude oil prices.