RIYADH: Saudi Aramco is considering a bold move to open up one of the world’s largest unconventional gas fields to foreign investors, according to sources cited by Bloomberg News. The state-owned company is looking to fund a $110 billion project at the site to help it diversify from oil sales.
Aramco is working with an adviser as it explores options for raising new equity or debt for its vast Jafurah site, said the sources, who declined to be identified as they were discussing confidential information.
They added that the company has opened preliminary talks with potential investors, including large commodity traders. The deliberations are in the early stages and Aramco might ultimately decide to pursue other ways to raise money to fund the Jafurah development, they said.
The Jafurah field is estimated to contain about 200 trillion cubic feet of rich raw gas, and Aramco expects to begin production at the site in 2024. It is a priority for Saudi Arabia’s rulers as they look to increase gas production and reduce the reliance on exports of crude oil.
Any deal involving Jafurah would be a rare example of Aramco allowing external investors the chance to hold stakes in its upstream oil and gas assets, according to Bloomberg.