The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia already has one of the world’s largest proven reserves of conventional gas of about 300 trillion cubic feet. There are also unconventional gas reserves, with estimated reserves of more than 600 trillion cubic feet.
The development of the giant Jafurah gas field in the eastern region of Saudi Arabia will catapult the Kingdom to the forefront of gas producers in the world.
According to the United States Energy Information Administration (EIA), the US is ranked 4th globally with gas reserves of 464 trillion cubic feet. This was before the discovery of the Jafurah gas field that will add 200 trillion cubic feet to the already proven 300 trillion cubic feet of gas reserves in the Kingdom, bringing the grans total to around 500 trillion cubic feet.
So this means Saudi Arabia will overtake the US in the list of countries with the biggest gas reserves.
Moreover, the giant Jafurah gas field is located near existing export facilities which will make its delivery to customers much quicker and easier — a benefit not shared by many of the other recent gas discoveries worldwide.
While Russia still holds the world’s largest natural gas reserves, Russian gas is delivered mostly to Europe via pipeline, and does not benefit from extensive LNG infrastructure that would allow the gas to be exported by ship worldwide to various destinations.
The development of the gas sector comes as the Kingdom seeks to diversify its economy and reduce its reliance on crude oil sales. It will help to power the next generation power and desalination plants while also providing the feedstock for the petrochemicals sector that converts ethane to ethylene.
Even before this latest discovery, gas has been playing a progressively more important role in the Kingdom’s economy.
In fact it has expanded to account for almost 57 percent of the Kingdom’s energy mix, and the goal is to reach 75 percent by 2030.
Already the world’s largest and most reliable oil exporter, the Kingdom will now be able to add gas to that claim.