Riyadh strategy keeps oil pumping

14 May 2015

Kingdom produced 9.5 million barrels a day in 2014

  • Riyadh looking to maintain market share
  • Aramco gets creative with oil projects
  • Doubt looms over Khurais expansion

Saudi Arabia’s average oil production was 9.5 million barrels a day (b/d) in 2014, with 2015 set to be even higher due to the kingdom’s continued strategy of maintaining a high market share despite lower oil prices.

The production figures were released in state oil major Saudi Aramco’s 2014 annual report and represent a record-equalling year of production. Output could be close to 10 million b/d in 2015.

Riyadh has decided to maintain high production in the face of harsh criticism from other Opec producers such as Iran, as a strategy aimed at lessening the threat from rival producers as well as ensuring key clients do not source crude from other providers. Oil prices are expected to average about $60 a barrel in 2015.  

The kingdom has capacity of 12.5 million b/d and is currently producing about 10.3 million b/d.

However, there is a definite indication that Aramco is looking at some creative ways of bringing more crude on stream without resorting to multibillion-dollar investments.

Aramco’s 2014 annual report stated that the Dammam field was going to re-enter service in a series of phases. Production at the Shaybah field is also being increased by 250,000 b/d.  

One curious omission from the report was the proposed $3bn Khurais oil field expansion. Italy’s Saipem carried out detailed engineering work on the project, but it was not mentioned by Aramco as an ongoing project. MEED reported in March that Aramco was considering cancelling the Khurais expansion scheme.

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