The Saudi oil company Aramco, one of the most valuable companies on the planet, has discovered four new oil and gas fields in Saudi Arabia. This was announced by the energy minister, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, in declarations collected by the APS. The oil discovery was made to the northwest of the city of Dhahran, in the al-Reesh oil field; whereas the gas was detected to the southeast of the same city, more specifically in the al-Sarrah deposit located inside the Ghawar oil field, and in the al-Sahbaa well, located to the south of the same field.
The energy minister declared that both the oil and gas found "are unconventional", i.e. they have been extracted using alternative techniques such as hydraulic billing. This process consists of injecting large quantities of water mixed with sand and various chemical agents to fragment the rock and keep the fractures open so that the hydrocarbon can flow. The amount of oil and gas that can be extracted in an unconventional way is less than that of a conventional deposit, since these fractures can only be induced in a few tens of meters around the well.
Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman bin Abdulaziz further stated that the Aramco company continues to work on determining the size and volume of the fields discovered in order to estimate the amount of oil and gas.
The city of Dhahran is the key administrative centre for the Saudi oil industry. Large oil reserves were first identified in this area in 1931. Four years later Standard Oil began exploitation and later established a subsidiary in the country known as the Arabian American Oil Company, which became owned by the Saudi government and renamed Saudi Aramco.
Some 100 kilometres from Dhahran is the Ghawar field, a vast territory whose production is estimated at between 4.5 and 5 million barrels a day. It accounts for nearly 65 per cent of Saudi Arabia's total production, equivalent to 6 per cent of world output.
According to Riyadh, the second well in the Al-Reesh oil field - where the new deposits have been discovered - generates 4,452 barrels of extra-light crude oil and 90 million litres of natural gas per day. To determine the size of the field, Aramco has also drilled the three and four wells in al-Reesh, where initial production amounts to 2,745 barrels plus 85 million litres of gas; and 3,654 barrels plus 45 million litres of natural gas per day, respectively.
The gas from the al-Minahhaz well amounts to 509 million litres, along with about 100 barrels per day, and from the al-Sahbaa well a daily rate of over 900 million litres is collected. Oil has also been discovered at well number one in al-Ajramiyah, located northwest of the city of Rafhaa in the north of the country. Test data from this well show a production rate of 3,850 barrels of oil per day.
Saudi Arabia's state oil company is the world's largest oil company. In the first nine months of the year, the company recorded a net attributable profit of Euro 29,570 million, which was 48.6% lower than the result recorded for the same period in 2019. This was a result of the impact of the pandemic and the volatility of crude oil prices.
Despite the sharp fall, the oil company maintained its commitment to distribute a quarterly dividend of Euro 15,835 million, with an annual target of Euro 63,335 million. This discovery is a boost for Saudi Arabia's aspirations for the coming year, as both 70% of its income and 80% of its exports depend solely on oil.