Saudi Arabia has the world’s largest proven conventional oil reserves and production capacity in excess of 10 million b/d. It is the leading player in OPEC and remains the only producer to hold significant ‘swing’ capacity.
Saudi Aramco dominates the country’s upsteam sector, where foreign companies are restricted to service contract roles. It has ambitious expansion plans intended to increase capacity to 12.5 million b/d by early next decade. The state company is also increasingly active in gas development, alongside four foreign contractors who have been given exceptional access to acreage in the Rub’al-Khali desert, south of Dhahran.
This reflects Saudi Arabia’s growing interest in gas development to displace oil use and support related industries, such as petrochemicals, which are at the heart of the Kingdom’s economic diversification plans. The country has evinced no interest in gas exports as yet, with the focus on exploration and development for domestic needs. KSA also plays host to the International Energy Forum Secretariat which brings together producers and consumers and manages the Joint Oil Data Initiative (JODI).
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