Major industrial facilities also use gas as feedstock to produce petrochemicals, fertilizers, steel and other products that in turn feed a thriving industrial sector.
Exploration of the Kingdom’s natural gas resources remains ongoing. Major deposits have been discovered in the Eastern Province near Abqaiq and southwest of the Ghawar oil field.
Until the 1970s, most of the natural gas produced in the Kingdom was in association with crude oil production, and was flared off at the well. An ambitious project known as the Master Gas System allowed Saudi Aramco to collect the gas and pipe it around the country.
Saudi Arabia also actively promotes foreign investment in natural gas. In July 2003 an agreement was signed with Royal Dutch/Shell and France’s Total to develop upstream gas operations in the Empty Quarter (Rub’ al-Khali). In March 2005, additional contracts were signed for two vast oil and gas projects.