Salim al-Aydh, vice-president, engineering and operations services of Saudi Aramco, said the firm was raising its current capacity from 10.8 million barrels a day (b/d) to 12 million b/d by 2010, not including Saudi Arabia’s share from the Divided Zone. Sales gas production is to be lifted to 7,000 million cubic feet a day (cf/d) from 5,000 million cf/d over the period. Natural gas liquids (NGL) production is to rise to more than 1 million b/d in 2009 from 800,000 b/d. ‘Between 2007 and 2011, Saudi Aramco will produce 18,000 million barrels of crude oil,’ he said. ‘This is more than Europe’s total reserves. And we will replace every barrel we produce through new discoveries.’

Sabic vice-president of finance Mutlaq al-Morished said total Sabic production will rise from about 47 million tonnes in 2005 to 65 million tonnes a year (t/y) in 2008, 80 million t/y in 2012 and 100 million t/y in 2015. ‘In 2015, Saudi Arabia will account for 15 per cent of world petrochemicals production,’ he said. ‘The petrochemicals industry centre of gravity is moving to this part of the world and the kingdom is the first choice for locating any petrochemicals industry.’ Sabic has eight completed crackers and is building two more. ‘We are looking for a major expansion in Europe,’ Al-Morished said. ‘We are exploring things in Iran, Algeria and even Venezuela.’

Al-Morished said the construction industry must recognise the priorities of Saudi Arabian economic development. ‘The message from Sabic is that preference will be given to companies with a local presence,’ he said. ‘Our procurement will be targeted to people who are making things in Saudi Arabia.’

Mansour al-Kharboush, vice-president for shared services of Sabic, said the investment in ongoing Sabic projects, to be completed in 2006-08, will total $11,900 million. Projects being developed will involve investment of a further $12,400 million. He said that the engineering and mechanical elements of these projects will cost $3,600 million, equipment and bulk work about $10,000 million and field construction about $6,000 million.

Al-Kharboush said Sabic projects that have been approved will require 1,500 engineers in the peak year of 2007 and 51,000 construction workers in the same year, compared with 17,000 in 2006. Al-Kharboush added that ongoing and approved projects for 2006-09 will require 570,000 tonnes of structural steel, 2.1 million cubic metres of concrete, 16 million metres of electrical cable and 16.6 million metres of instrumentation cable.

‘We believe that this growth will continue beyond these years,’ Al-Kharboush said. ‘The vision is very clear. By 2015, we are targeting 100 milliont/y. That will require another wave of investment.’

Mohammad al-Juwair, general manager, project management of Aramco, said the value of the oil company’s ongoing projects would rise to $70,000 million in 2007 and the number of rigs working in Aramco fields to 120 at the end of 2006 from 26 in 2004. He added that the largest new project is the $9,000 million offshore Manifa field development plan. It calls for the construction of a 40-kilometre-long causeway from the Saudi coast which will be used to accommodate and provide access to most Manifa production rigs. The Manifa project is to start up in 2011 and calls for capacity of 900,000 b/d of heavy crude oil.

Al-Juwair said Aramco would require about 23 million engineering man hours to service its projects in 2006, compared with about 10 million man hours in 2005. This is forecast to rise to 26 million in 2008 and 2009. In total, Aramco and Sabic will require more than 200,000 construction workers in each of