Saudi Arabia plans to double its natural gas production over the next ten years, the country’s energy minister told reporters on Wednesday.
“When it comes to natural gas, over the next decade we are going to be roughly doubling our production to 23 billion cubic feet per day and substantially increasing the percentage of natural gas in the Kingdom’s fuel mix, displacing liquids and therefore reducing carbon (emissions),” Khalid Al-Falih said at the eighth annual IEA-IEF-OPEC Symposium on Energy Outlooks occurring in Riyadh.
Natural gas is considered a “green” fuel because burning it releases less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than coal or oil.
Al-Falih also addressed industry-wide concerns regarding the future of an OPEC-led pact to reduce global oil output by 1.8 million barrels per day through the end of the year.
“Market volatility is a common concern for producers and consumers, and the Kingdom is committed to mitigating this volatility and moderating its negative impacts by responsibly meeting its pledges” under the deal. “I am confident that our high degree of cooperation and coordination will continue and bring the desired results,” Falih told the industry conference, with an audience of Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak and OPEC Secretary General Mohammad Barkindo.
According to OPEC’s latest production figures released earlier this week, Saudi Arabia lifted its January production by 23,300 bpd to 9.977 million bpd—but still below its 10.058-million-bpd quota, over complying once again.
The market volatility and the plunge in oil prices—from over $70 to $62 a barrel Brent—in just two weeks has raised concerns that oil is on another downturn, and Saudi Arabia returns to reiterate its pledge that it will do “whatever it takes” to bring global inventories back to balance.
By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com