Saudi Aramco Starts Production From Karan Gas Field in July

Saudi Arabian Oil Co. started producing natural gas at the offshore Karan field earlier this month as the world’s largest crude exporter works to meet domestic demand during the Persian Gulf nation’s peak season.

Output averaging more than 400 million standard cubic feet per day of gas will help meet fuel demand this summer, the company said in a statement today. Five wells with a combined capacity of 120 million feet per day are producing at the deposit, said the state producer, known as Saudi Aramco.

Saudi Arabia holds the world’s largest oil reserves and the fourth-largest gas deposits, according to the BP Statistical Review of World Energy June 2011. The country is seeking to produce more gas to run power plants, with local electricity demand growing by about 10 percent a year, or twice the economic growth rate, according to HSBC Holdings Plc.

The Karan field will produce about 1.8 billion cubic feet per day of raw gas when it reaches full capacity in 2013, and it will feed into the Khursaniyah processing plant. Output will hit 1.5 billion cubic feet per day by next June, Aramco said.

The company is searching for gas in the kingdom’s southern desert, known as the Empty Quarter, and is developing other supplies to satisfy rising demand from power stations and factories. Aramco plans to drill wells this year in the non- associated gas fields of Hasbah and Arabiyah, it said last month in its 2010 annual review. The two offshore fields will add 2.5 billion cubic feet per day of capacity, it said.

Saudi gas reserves increased by 3.8 trillion cubic feet to 279 trillion cubic feet at the end of 2010, the company said in the review. It aims to boost production by 50 percent over the next five years to 15 billion cubic feet per day.

To contact the reporter on this story: Anthony DiPaola in Dubai at adipaola@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephen Voss on sev@bloomberg.net.

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