Saudi Arabia produced a record volume of natural gas earlier this year, the Kingdom’s state oil giant Aramco said in its Q3 results release on Tuesday, as the world’s top oil exporter looks to boost its position in natural gas.
Saudi Aramco “achieved a record historic single-day natural gas production” of 10.7 billion standard cubic feet per day (bscfd) on August 6, 2020, from both conventional and unconventional fields, the company said.
Aramco also made two unconventional field discoveries in the third quarter, both in the northern part of the Kingdom, with one field containing both oil and gas and another field with a gas reservoir.
The Saudi state oil giant is the biggest oil exporter in the world, but it is not as strong in natural gas. Aramco has set its sights on significantly developing Saudi Arabia’s gas reserves and start exporting gas over the next decade.
Currently, Saudi Arabia consumes all the gas it produces, mostly for electricity generation.
Despite the rise in gas production, Saudi Arabia’s power plants continue to burn oil for power generation. In August, the Kingdom’s oil consumption for domestic electricity generation was 702,000 barrels per day (bpd), according to data from the Joint Organisations Data Initiative (JODI), cited by Bloomberg. This was the highest oil consumption in power plants in four years because of the very high temperatures and increased domestic power demand as Saudis canceled vacations abroad because of the pandemic.
With the development of more gas fields, Saudi Arabia aims to export as much as 3 billion cubic feet of gas per day by 2030, Saudi Aramco’s chief executive Amin Nasser said last year.
Aramco will solely develop Saudi Arabia’s conventional and unconventional gas reserves, and the options for exports include exports via pipelines and liquefied natural gas (LNG), Nasser said.
Saudi Aramco’s gas development program is expected to attract as much as US$150 billion in investment over the next decade, Nasser said at the end of 2018.