Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Ali Al-Naimi, in a speech in Riyadh today to the annual meeting of alumni of the Massachusetts Institute for Technology (MIT), confirmed the Kingdom’s capacity to increase its oil production and its policy that calls for cooperation between oil producing and oil consuming countries. The vast reserves, he said, will allow Saudi Arabia to continue to be a major oil producer for up to 100 years from now, even with an increase in production capacity to 15 million barrels a day.
Minister Al-Naimi went on to speak of the Kingdom’s reserves of natural gas, some of which are used as feedstock for petrochemical industries. Reserves of non-associated gas have almost doubled in the past decade, and are now estimated at 97 trillion cubic feet; together with the associated gas, this gives a total of 237 trillion cubic feet, making Saudi Arabia the fourth largest producer of natural gas in the world. These figures will increase, given the recent concessions granted to international companies to explore in the Empty Quarter.
Plans are also under way to exploit the Kingdom’s mineral resources in the north of the country, such as phosphates for use in fertilizer plants. There is also bauxite, and the feasibility of an advanced aluminum industry. To cater for these projects, a second industrial city is being built in Jubail.