Arab gas reserves soar despite sharp increase in production

Nov 14, 2003 01:00 AM

Arab gas reserves swelled by nearly eight trillion cm over the past six years despite a sharp increase in production because of higher domestic consumption and growing exports to foreign markets, according to official figures.
The UAE's natural gas wealth remained almost unchanged at 6 tn cm while Qatar accounted for the bulk of the increase, with its gas resources jumping to 14.6 tcm at the end of last year from 8.5 tcm in 1997, showed the figures by the Organisation of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC).

Another major increase came from Saudi Arabia, whose gas potential grew to around 6.2 tcm from 5.39 tcm in the same period. Algeria's reserves, among the biggest in the world, also increased to 4.52 tcm from 4.07 tcm while Egypt's gas wealth rose to around 1.55 tcm from 815 bn cm.
The Kuwaiti-based OAPEC, which groups 10 key Arab oil and gas producers, put the total Arab natural gas reserves at 40.7 tcm at the end of last year compared with nearly 32.4 tcm at the end of 1997. The increase boosted their ratio to nearly 25.4 % of the world's total gas resources of around 159.9 tcm at the end of last year from 21.5 % of the global gas reserves of nearly 150.2 tcm at the end of 1997.

The increase occurred despite a sharp growth in Arab gas production to meet local and external demand, with the total output soaring to nearly 427.6 bn cm last year from around 364 bn cm in 1997. Algeria topped the list of Arab gas producers, with an output of around 151 bn cm last year while the UAE ranked second, with nearly 55 bn cm.
Qatar's gas production stood at 45.5 bn cm but output is set to sharply increase in the near future as the Gulf country is pushing ahead with mega projects to tap its mammoth North gas field, the largest single gas reservoir in the world.

Despite the increase in its reserves, Saudi Arabia's gas output declined to around 54 bn cm from 77 bn cm. But the Kingdom is on the verge of entering a turning point in its gas industry as international firms have been invited to tap its resources in multi-billion-dollar deals, the first of which has already been struck with a Shell-led consortium.
The figures showed the UAE ranked fifth in the world in terms of gas reserves while Saudi Arabia was fourth and Qatar third at the end of last year. Iran ranked second with around 23 tcm while Russia controlled around 48 tcm.

Source: Gulf News
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