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Saudi Aramco Board Endorses Gas Deal with Shell, Total

Source: 10/15/2003, Location: Middle East

DHAHRAN, October 15, 2003 -- Saudi Aramco's participation in the proposed South Rub' al-Khali Upstream Project was approved last week when the company's Board of Directors held its fall meeting under the chairmanship of Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Ali I. Al-Naimi.

The project, a landmark gas exploration and production deal, would cover 209,160 square kilometers in the south of the Rub' al-Khali or Empty Quarter. Saudi Aramco would form a consortium with affiliates of Royal Dutch Shell and Total.

The board adopted resolutions in support of the proposed project, which remains subject to government approval.

The board also reviewed management recommendations for the 2004 Exploration, Development, Capital and Non-Capital budgets and approved the budgets.

The board received two informational presentations. The first was about the company's Innovation program. The program's mission is to create an environment within the company that stimulates creative and innovative solutions and captures new ideas to enhance productivity, reduce costs and meet future challenges.

Since this program was launched in June 2002, more than 10,000 ideas have been submitted for evaluation through the on-line Idea Management System. Those ideas have generated significant increased revenue, cost savings and reduced capital spending.

The second presentation was about the company's Loss Prevention program and performance. Statistical indicators for the company have shown that the company's safety record compares favorably with others in the GCC and with petroleum companies worldwide.

Management assured the board of its commitment to a sustained effort to enhance safety, one of the company's most important corporate values and one that is integrated into every aspect of the company. This effort includes the Loss Prevention Improvement Project, a long-term, multi-faceted approach that is under way to further improve the safety management system.

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