Capital investments in the Middle East energy sector will reach USD 470 billion by 2014, 47% of which will be spent on oil projects and 63% on gas projects, analysts and researchers believe.
Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar and Egypt seek to expand their oil and gas projects within strategic plans extending to 2020. Saudi Arabia is expected to spend nearly USD 101 billion (SAR 380 billion) on oil, gas and petrochemicals projects up to 2015. Qatar will spend USD 80 billion over the next 10 years, while the UAE is planning to spend more than USD 100 billion on energy projects, including USD 80 billion on the construction of a nuclear reactor to be operational in 2017. Egypt is seeking to spend more than USD 60 billion.
Saudi Arabia plans to spend nearly USD 101 billion (SAR 380 billion) on oil, gas and petrochemicals projects up to 2015, including the completion of development projects and others related to the construction of new refineries, according to government data.
Saudi Aramco alone seeks to invest USD 125 billion in projects inside and outside KSA, in the oil, gas and petrochemicals projects over the next five years.
Saudi Aramco and Saudi Arabian Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC) are working to complete their expansion plans as global demand for their products increases.
The Saudi Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources indicated that Saudi Arabia is committed to providing energy to the world; and therefore, it will implement large investment projects over the coming years in the various stages of the oil industry. Thus, KSA will spend SAR half a trillion on all energy-related projects between 2013 and 2016. Most investments will be made by Saudi Aramco and SABIC.
According to the report of Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation (APICORP), KSA will have investments worth USD 50.3 billion over the next three years, in oil refining and petrochemicals production. Saudi Aramco is planning to add new refineries and start the production of petrochemicals in more than one project in Jubail and Rabigh, in addition to its intention to invest USD 7.4 billion to increase the production and distribution of natural gas and liquids, in order to keep up with the expected growth in domestic demand, both for the production of electricity or petrochemicals, according to Dr. Ali Al-Essawy, a senior economist at APICORP. He added that the majority of growth in petroleum investments in the Arab region will be concentrated in the Gulf, particularly in Saudi Arabia followed by the UAE and Qatar.
The Saudi ministry of petroleum and mineral resources says it expects energy consumption within KSA to grow at an average annual growth rate of 6.8% till 2014, increasing the demand for development of the oil and gas sector and projects related to it. According to the ministry, domestic energy consumption will rise from 2,972.5 barrels of oil equivalent (BOE) per day in 2009 to 4,080.9 BOE per day in 2014.
Consumption of crude oil for direct combustion is expected to grow at an average annual growth rate of 13.5%. Domestic consumption of refined products is expected to grow at 6.6% per year, and the consumption of natural gas as fuel is expected to grow at an annual average rate of 4.5%.
Saudi Aramco seeks, during 2012 itself, to complete one of its most important projects, the development of the Karan gas field, which will increase its production to 1.8 billion cubic feet per day.
The company is also seeking to start the Sadara project in Jubail, with total investments of around SAR 75 billion. The Sadara project is a partnership between Saudi Aramco and Dow, with equal shares, which will offer some of its shares in a future IPO.
This project aims at the design, construction and operation of an integrated world-class chemicals complex in Jubail Industrial City, in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia. This complex, including 26 manufacturing units and benefiting from the experience of Saudi Aramco in the management and completion of projects, along with several modern techniques owned by Dow, will be one of the largest integrated chemicals production facilities in the world and the largest facility of its kind to be built in one phase.
The complex will also be characterized by a high flexibility. It will be able to crack a wide range of feedstock. It will produce more than 3 million metric tons of high-performance and high-value chemical products and plastics, allowing it to take advantage of the fast-growing markets in the fields of energy, transport, infrastructure and consumer products.
There is also the Jazan refinery project, started by Saudi Aramco on the Red Sea coast in southwestern Saudi Arabia. The project is expected to be launched to investors, in order to study and analyze the technical and financial offers, build and operate the refinery during the first quarter of 2015, according to Majed Al Mulla, executive manager at Saudi Aramco. He pointed out that the project is currently in the preliminary engineering design study, while parts of it, such as the detailed designs, will be awarded by the end of 2012. The establishment cost of Jazan Refinery is estimated at around SAR 26.25 billion (USD 7 billion), according to Saudi Aramco's report.
The UAE is seeking to invest USD 80 billion for the construction of a nuclear reactor to be operational in 2017, according to the energy ministry. Nuclear energy will account for up to 15% of the total energy produced by 2025.
The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority has allocated up to AED 137 billion of investments for the implementation of its decennial strategic plan over the years 2006 to 2015, in order to keep pace with the boom in the growth rates of electricity and water consumption, as a result of the urban renaissance, and the economic boom witnessed by Dubai.
Qatar is working on two parallel lines in the development of its natural resources, especially the oil and gas wealth. It is urging steps to diversify its production and industries and thus its income sources away from the energy sector. It is spending tens of billions of dollars on the development of the oil and gas industry, and the construction of mega-projects that enhance its production capacity based on these two main sources that still constitute more than 85% of the total public revenues of the country.
Qatar has around 27 billion barrels of oil reserves. However, it is planning to increase its oil production to 1.4 million barrels per day over the next few years, from the current 850,000 barrels per day.
It also has huge reserves of natural gas that could last for 200 years if the current production rates remain as they are. It is the largest liquefied natural gas (LNG) exporter in the world as it contributes in the production of one third of the total world supply. Qatar's LNG production is currently 77 million tons per year.
The Qatari economic expert, Ali Kayed, said that the global economic conditions during the post-global financial crisis do not pose any pressure on Qatar's investments plans in the oil and gas projects, given the large surplus achieved by the state budget annually.
Qatar's balance sheet ending in March 2012 achieved a record fiscal surplus of around USD 25 billion. The price of an oil barrel in Qatar, in the new budget starting early April, was estimated at USD 65. The oil and gas revenues will enable the Qatari government to increase the expenditure by 27% until the end of March 2013.
The total Qatari investments in the existing energy projects are of around USD 120 billion, according to previous statements made by the chairman of Qatar's Administrative Control and Transparency Authority, Abdullah bin Hamad Al-Attiyah, who served as the minister of energy and industry in Qatar for more than 15 years.
The Qatari minister of economy and finance, Yousef Hussain Kamal, said that the path of the Qatari economy will proceed and the growth rates will continue to increase, pointing out that the government will spend nearly USD 200 billion on mega-projects in various economic sectors up to 2022, including large projects in the oil and gas sector.
According to sources in the Qatari oil and gas industry, the size of the projects to be implemented in this sector during the next 10 years is estimated at around USD 80 billion. Barzan Gas may be the most prominent project in this field with total costs up to around USD 10.4 billion.
The project's implementation started in November 2011 and its completion stages are going at a rapid pace. Barzan Gas is one of the leading gas projects carried out by Qatar in the next 10 years and one of the largest gas infrastructure projects in the region. The project will process two billion cubic feet of gas per day upon completion of the first production phase by 2014.
The produced gas will meet all the necessary energy requirements of the power generation, water desalination and other plants in Qatar, as well as other growing needs of the country in clean natural gas. The produced ethane will support the Qatari petrochemicals industry.
In addition to Barzan project, RasGas is currently implementing two new lines to increase its production capacity by 11 billion cubic feet of gas per day (equivalent to two million barrels of oil).
Another project is currently being implemented is the second phase of the expansion of the Ras Laffan refinery, with a production capacity of around 146,000 barrels of condensate, naphtha, liquefied petroleum gas, and jet fuel.
In addition to these mega-projects, Qatar has recently launched the Pearl GTL (gas to liquid) project in Ras Laffan Industrial City. It is the largest energy project of its kind in the world, with a total cost of USD 19 billion.
Kayed said that Qatar has greatly benefited from the fact that around 75% of its LNG exports are sold according to long-term contracts of up to 25 years, which means that around 25% of its production is not subject to the fluctuations of the world market prices, protecting Qatar from any possibility of decrease in the gas prices.
Egypt announced recently its preliminary approval for the establishment of two oil refineries in the northwest of the Gulf of Suez, with foreign investment of up to EUR 3 billion to cope with the shortage of benzene and solar power.
Chairman of the Industrial Development Authority, Major General Ismail Al-Najdi, indicated that the authority signed a contract for a petrochemicals industry project on June 11 in Washington, with investments amounting to USD 3.6 billion. He added that the petrochemicals industry has developed solutions that help preserve the environment.
According to the report of the Egyptian petroleum ministry, there are several investment projects on the table during the coming years, with nearly USD 20 billion up to 2022, including the creation of a new carbonization complex in Suez Governorate, with a cost up to USD 1.3 billion, affiliated to the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation, for the production of petroleum products to meet the needs of the local market.
Egypt announced an international bid last week for the research and exploration of gas and oil in 15 vital areas, in cooperation with the Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company. The bid invites the companies operating in the field of research and production of gas and crude oil, to participate in the international bid of 2012 according to the production sharing system. The bid includes 15 research blocks in the sediment basin of the Mediterranean Sea and the Nile Delta, as shown in the map:
According to the Egyptian petroleum ministry's plan, there are some future and ongoing projects in the oil sector, including:
Modernization of the oil integrators in Suez Oil Processing Company, to increase production capacity by around 50,000 tons/year of essential oils, 31,000 tons/year of naphtha and 79,000 tons/year of asphalt, with an expected investment cost of USD 75 million.
This is in addition to the modernization of the carbonization complex at Suez Oil to increase the supply from 980 to 1,200 tons/year of diesel, with an investment cost of around USD 90 million; the diesel hydrocracking project at Assiut Oil Refinery, with an expected investment cost of around USD 1.2 billion, and the ammonia/urea production project, to produce around 1.4 million tons per year of urea using natural gas, with investments estimated at around USD 1.7 billion.
There is also the project for polystyrene production, aiming at producing 200,000 tons per year of polystyrene, with an investment cost of around USD 408 million. Another project for the production of polyester, aiming at producing 315,000 tons per year of polyester, used in the manufacturing of water bottles, with an estimated investment cost of USD 148 million.