Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter, will double its natural gas output by 2030 but plans to keep all of it at home to fuel domestic growth, the country’s oil minister said on Wednesday.
“Within the next decade, Saudi Arabia will more than double its gas production,” the country’s oil minister Ali al-Naimi told a gathering of energy ministers and company executives at a natural gas conference in the Pacific resort city of Acapulco.
Naimi said the Kingdom will put the bonanza to use to meet its own rising energy demands, including both power generation and water desalination, as well as developing its growing mineral industry.
“Saudi Arabia currently has no plans to export its gas or get into the (liquefied natural gas) business,” he said.
In his first public remarks since global crude oil prices dived to four-year lows near $80 a barrel, Naimi reaffirmed the Kingdom’s longstanding policy of seeking stable global markets, dismissing talk of a “price war” but offering no insight on his response to tumbling crude prices.
Saudi Arabia has the world’s fifth-largest natural gas reserves at 291 trillion cubic feet (tcf), according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Naimi said a “conservative” estimate of the kingdom’s gas reserves is 300 tcf.
While he said crude oil will power the global economy for “many decades to come,” he said the rising importance of natural gas is a welcome development.
“There was a time when the night skies of the eastern province of Saudi Arabia were lit up by the flaring of this gas,” he said. “No more.”