Saudi Arabia has started the first production of gas from its offshore Hasbah field, state-owned oil group Saudi Aramco said in its weekly magazine Arabian Sun.

The new facilities have a capacity of 1.3 billion cubic feet a day (cf/d) and are now piping gas to the Wasit processing plant, which was built as part of the same project.

Aramco signed the main engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts on the estimated $4.6bn Wasit project in 2011. The scheme also includes establishing a gas capacity of 1.2 billion cf/d at the adjacent Arabiyah field.

“It was highlighted that the successful commissioning of the Hasbah gas field, which along with Arabiyah will feed non-associated gas to the Wasit gas plant, marks a shift for Aramco to become a leader in offshore gas production,” the Arabian Sun reported.

Aramco has received EPC bids from four companies on the expansion of the Hasbah field development. The upgrade will expand the production capacity of the field by an additional 2 billion cf/d, which will be piped to the onshore Fadhili gas plant.