Saudi Aramco to invest $50bn in oil production

One mega project at giant Khurais oilfield will add 1.2 million barrels per day of light crude (AFP)

Saudi Arabia is pushing ahead with an ambitious programme to add nearly four million barrels per day to its sustainable oil output capacity and maintain its position as the world's dominant crude supplier.

One mega project at the giant Khurais oilfield will add around 1.2 million barrels per day of light crude, which is favoured by global refiners for its low sulphur ratio and the fact that it is easier to process, according to an official report.

Saudi Aramco, which controls the bulk of the Kingdom's hydrocarbon sector, is undertaking such projects that involve the investment of more than $50 billion (Dh183.5bn) in 10 years.

"Saudi Aramco's ambitious capital programme achieved many milestones during 2007 towards construction of crude oil increments," the world's largest oil exporting company said in its 2007 review, obtained on Thursday.

"Since 2001 through the scheduled completion of Manifa in 2011, we will have built more than four million bpd of production capacity."

A breakdown showed Khurais, one of the largest oilfield development projects in the world, would add 1.2 million bpd of light Arabian crude to the Kingdom's production capacity, which was estimated at 11.3 million bpd at the end of 2007. Manifa will add around 900,000 bpd, while Khursaniyah involves an additional 500,000 bpd and Shaybay in the Empty Desert will pump an extra 250,000 bpd.

The additional capacity, which exceeds the total production of Kuwait and Qatar, will allow Saudi Aramco to achieve its target of reaching about 12.5 million bpd by the end of 2009 and sustain that output beyond that date.

Saudi Aramco sources told Emirates Business that the company's output capacity was as high as 10.5 million bpd in 2001 and the latest projects expanded that capacity and at the same time offset its decline in time.

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