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Aramco Mega Projects Key to Economic Growth

Source: www.gulfoilandgas.com 2/8/2006, Location: Middle East

A senior project analyst recently detailed the scope of Saudi Aramco's mega projects and explained their importance to the Kingdom's economic development recently at the Saudi Aramco Exhibit. Timir U. Mukherjee of Project Management talked to employees about the four massive capital programs - Hawiyah Natural Gas Liquids Recovery, Khursaniyah, Khurais and Shaybah Expansion - which are either under way or in the planning stages, and their strategic importance both for the company and for Saudi Arabia. When completed, these programs will produce 1.9 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil, increase ethane production as a petrochemical feedstock for industry at Jubail and Yanbu' by 68 percent, and add significantly to the Kingdom's supply of natural gas and condensate.

The Hawiyah Program's aim is to provide more ethane for downstream industries and will require a new fractionation plant at Hawiyah, major expansions of the Hawiyah and Ju'aymah gas plants, and multiple pipeline expansions.

The Khursaniyah facilities, northwest of Berri Gas Plant, will add 500,000 bpd of production capacity from the Abu Hadriyah and Fadhili fields and a new gas plant to process 1 billion standard cubic feet of gas per day. This strategic project is expected to be completed in late 2007 in record time, thanks to innovative contracting methods.

At Khurais, the work sprawls about 300 km north to southeast of Riyadh and includes the Abu Jifan and Mazalij fields. In 2009, it is expected to add 1.2 million bpd of high-quality Arabian Light Crude to Saudi Arabia's export capacity. The Khurais program also will increase capacity of the Qurayyah Seawater Injection System by 4.5 million bpd of treated water for injection at Khurais and South Ghawar fields. To conceive of this volume, imagine 45,000 tanker trucks per day bringing water from the Gulf to the oil fields.

Mukherjee said that the Shaybah Expansion, slated to add 250,000 bpd to the field's current output of 500,000 bpd, sets the stage for additional expansion in the next decade to more than 1 million bpd from the field in the Empty Quarter.

The potential for private-sector job creation across the country is impressive. Construction jobs for these programs should exceed 25,000 from mid-2006 through 2008, and peak at over 30,000, providing great opportunities for employment in the construction industry.

Responding to a question from the audience, strategic initiative consultant John G. Palmer said that more than 20 percent of the skilled-trades positions in the contractor work force have been slated for Saudization, and that throughout Engineering and Operations Services, every effort was being made to support contractors in achieving Saudization targets. Beyond the construction phases of the current mega projects, the potential for private-sector job growth is huge. Petrochemical industries can create products, ranging from textiles to plastics with many possible applications - all of which can spawn industries that can offer good-paying, long-term jobs to Saudis. As the Saudi economy heats up, more jobs are created in service and support businesses.

Mukherjee stressed the importance of all Saudi Aramco employees understanding this "big picture" and realizing the critical role that the company's work force is playing in helping to shape the future of the Kingdom. After the presentation, Mukherjee said that the extent of the mega-project investments being made is historic, and that Saudi Aramco employees today are creating the opportunities for future generations.

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