2003 News Story

Gas projects to be offered early next year

Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Ali Al-Naimi has stated that, in an effort to increase investor interest in natural gas exploration, the Kingdom will offer participation in three large projects in the first quarter of 2004, and reiterated the Kingdom's new policy of pursuing exploration and production separately. The Royal Dutch/Shell group and TotalFinaElf recently signed a $ 2 billion agreement to form a joint venture with Saudi Aramco for the exploration of gas in the southern part of the Rub Al-Khali (Empty Quarter).

Meanwhile, the Middle East Economic Digest (MEED), in its latest quarterly edition of the Saudi Arabia Market Report, states that the Kingdom will witness its best year since 1981 in terms of growth, exports, balance of payments, and budget.