2003 Press Release

Saudi Arabia signs upstream gas deal with international oil companies

[Washington, DC] -- As a result of the Government’s push to increase foreign investment and expand the country’s economic base, a consortium made up of Royal Dutch/Shell (RD) and TotalFinaElf (TOT) has accepted an offer from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to develop upstream natural gas reserves in a large area of about 125,000 square miles in the southeastern Rub’ al-Khali (Empty Quarter).  The offer is part of the Kingdom’s natural gas initiative.  Royal Dutch/Shell will take on a 40% stake in the venture, while TotalFinaElf and Saudi Arabian Oil Company (Saudi Aramco) will take on 30% each.

According to Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Ali Al-Naimi, “this project is a vital step and represents a vigorous start to international investment in gas exploration and development in the Kingdom.  This project is one in a series of upstream gas projects that were envisioned by the Crown Prince and which will be executed by international oil companies.”

Ambassador to the United States, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, stated: “We have implemented a number of structural reform measures to encourage foreign investment which will greatly contribute to the Kingdom’s economic prosperity.”

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been actively promoting international investment in various sectors of its economy.  The opening up of the energy sector to foreign investment will accelerate the overall development and diversification of the Saudi economy and in the process, provide tremendous opportunities for both Saudi and foreign investors.