Saudi Aramco is the world’s largest oil company by production and reserves, manages more than 100 oil and gas fields in the kingdom and is a vital international energy provider.
The company’s global role was emphasised in a new board of directors appointed in September, 2007.
The reformed board now includes James Kinnear, former Texaco president and CEO, Mark Moody-Stuart, former chairman of Royal Dutch Shell Group, in addition to Peter Woicke, former World Bank MD and executive VP of the International Finance Corporation, the bank’s private sector development affiliate.
The company is expected to spend more than $90bn on projects and infrastructure over the next four years and has recently drawn up an exclusive list of 27 selected Saudi and international construction and engineering firms to compete for the contracts due to be awarded.
According to Aramco officials, even after seven decades of large-scale commercial production only 28% of the kingdom’s proven reserves have been depleted.
Estimates point to recoverable oil of 200 billion barrels, enough to last, at last year’s average production level, for more than 100 years, they say.
Saudi Aramco is already engaged in the most aggressive expansion of oil drilling activity undertaken anywhere in the world. This has seen the company’s drilling rigs more than double to 130 in less than three years.
In the near term, Aramco is aiming for total output capacity of 12.5 million b/d by the end of 2009, including the neutral zone it shares with Kuwait. This involves an addition of 2.95 million b/d of oil production from the Khursaniyah, Shaybah, Nuayyim, Khurais and Manifa fields.
The $11bn offshore Manifa programme, the largest offshore field development ever undertaken by Aramco is due to be finished by 2011 and is expected to yield 900,000 barrels-a-day of heavy crude oil.
In order to find markets for its heavy oil reserves, Saudi Oil and Mineral Resources Minister Ali al-Naimi has said that the kingdom intends to almost double oil refining capacity in and outside the country to around 6 million b/d by 2013.
New combined petrochemicals and oil refining complexes are being built at Rabigh in conjunction with Japan’s Sumitomo and at Ras Tanura with the US Dow Chemical Company. A further complex is planned for Yanbu.
Aramco also has a 25% stake in a 240,000 b/d refinery venture in China’s Fujian province which will chiefly draw on Saudi heavy crude to produce gasoline and petrochemicals.
Chinese state-owned oil company, Sinopec, is also discussing a second joint venture refinery venture with Aramco in China’s eastern Shandong province.
A $5bn refinery investment has been mooted on Mindanao island in the Philippines where Aramco is already a 40% stakeholder in a refinery.
The company is also part of the $7bn Motiva consortium with Royal Dutch Shell aiming to expand capacity at the Port Arthur refinery in Texas, which will also be designed to process Saudi heavy crude.
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