KSA increases reserve estimates

Saudi oil minister says country could have another 200 billion recoverable barrels to add to the current estimated figure of 261 billion.

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By  David Ingham Published  May 26, 2005

Saudi Arabia’s oil minister, Ali bin Ibrahim Al Naimi, has said that his country could have another 200 billion barrels of oil sitting in the ground. According to existing government statistics, the country has 261 billion barrels of proven reserves, around one quarter of the world’s current official total. Adding another 200 billion barrels would mean that the oil-rich kingdom would have more than 37% of the world’s known recoverable oil. “This huge reserve ensures that Saudi Arabia will continue to be a major oil producer for the next seventy to one hundred years, even with the assumption that the Kingdom raises its production capacity to 15 million barrels a day, which might happen during the next 15 years,” said Al Naimi. In addition to its already considerable oil reserves, Al Naimi said that Saudi Arabia is keen to exploit its natural gas reserves, which have previously been ‘flared off’. To that end, four agreements have recently been signed with major exploration companies in the country’s Empty Quarter and the country has grown to become the world’s fourth largest gas producer. Efforts are also underway to exploit phosphate, bauxite and sulphur reserves in the northern parts of the country. “This is a giant step that is expected to boost the Saudi economy,” the minister said. “These minerals will enable the Kingdom to establish more sophisticated fertiliser factories.” In an effort to develop its downstream industrial sector, Al Naimi said that a new industrial city will be constructed north of Jubail in the Ras Al Zoar area. The Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority has also recently issued four licenses for petrochemical projects for Jubail Industrial City. These have a combined investment value of US $ 4.5 billion. In his speech to MIT graduates, Al Naimi also defended the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). Its decisions, he insisted, are based entirely on market data and research that is vetted by the institution’s secretary general. “OPEC has now become a pivotal player in the stability of the world oil market and in ensuring and maintaining the interests of oil producing countries,” Al Naimi said. “Saudi Arabia is interested in working for the stability of the international oil market and in building close working relationships based on economic fundamentals between itself and oil producing countries, and between producing and consuming countries.”

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