Natural gas resources in Middle East region are still underdeveloped

Dec 20, 2003 01:00 AM

The disparity between the resource base and production level clearly demonstrates that natural gas resources in the Middle East region are still underdeveloped, said Obeid bin Saif Al Nasseri, United Arab Emirates (UAE) Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources. In a speech at the Global LNG Ministerial Summit which concluded in the US capital, Nasseri said that Middle East region was blessed with substantial hydrocarbon resources, making it the richest in the world in natural gas potential.
"The Middle East region currently holds more than 40 % of the total world proven natural gas reserves, estimated at around 72 tcm, while its marketed production of natural gas is currently assessed at around 243 bn cm annually or about 10 % of the total world output," said Nasseri.

He pointed out, however, that the disparity between the resources base and production level clearly demonstrates that natural gas resources in the region are still underdeveloped. This would therefore give international oil and gas companies as well as the private sector future investment opportunities in natural gas projects to meet world demand growth, he added.
He further noted that in tandem with this trend, major natural gas expansion projects are currently taking place in the Middle East, particularly in the region so as to meet the rising domestic demand on the one hand, and to make additional volumes available for exports on the other. The fast population growth, the increasing need for power generation, the expanding requirement for desalination plants for the supply of fresh water, are among the many reasons behind this increase in local requirement for natural gas, he noted.

The global demand for natural gas has also been sharply rising in recent years, driven by expanded economic activity, growth in world population, and also due to natural favourable environmental qualities of being a relatively clean source of energy. In order to meet rising demand for natural gas at the regional and global levels, major natural gas projects, including LNG projects, have recently started in the region.
On the UAE gas production, Nasseri said that the UAE is producing around 62 bn cm, of which 46 bn cm is marketed and the rest is mainly reinvested into oil reservoirs to maximize production. The UAE, he said, has given the development of natural gas resources high priority since 1977, when the Abu Dhabi Gas Liquefied Co. (ADGAS) began producing and exporting LNG, pentane and Sulphur, ADGAS which is a member of the ADNOC Group of 15 companies currently produces and exports about 8 mm tpy of LNG, LPG, Pentane and Sulphur. Most of the product is committed to Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), he said.

Realizing the importance of regional integration in the natural gas industry, the UAE has already embarked on a major regional gas project, said Naseri in reference to the Dolphin Gas Project, which brings natural gas via pipeline from Qatar to the UAE.

Source: QNA
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