2004 News Story

Foreign companies to explore for gas in Empty Quarter

Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Ali Al-Naimi has announced that the International Chinese Petroleum Company 'Chinopec' will undertake the process of exploration and production of non-associated gas at zone 'B' in the Empty Quarter [Rub’ Al-Khali]. The area of the zone is estimated at about 40,000 square kilometers. Results of bids for the remaining areas for exploration will be announced tomorrow. The interest shown by international companies in investment in the Kingdom, he said, has provided clear evidence of the country’s healthy economic atmosphere.

Meanwhile, today’s ‘Arab News’ reports that Russian oil and gas giant Lukoil has signed a contract with Saudi Arabia for the exploration and production of gas in a 30,000 square kilometer section of the Empty Quarter. Lukoil will own 80 percent of the project’s new company, with Saudi Aramco owning 20 percent. This is the first joint venture between a Saudi oil company and a Russian oil company.