Saudi Arabia is adding to its ‘difficult’ gas challenges. Saudi Aramco is conducting talks for hydraulic fracturing (fracking) technology for an estimated 600 trillion cubic feet (tcf) plus of shale gas reserves. It is also studying Jurassic formations in the north, and sour gas reserves in South Ghawar, and sinking its first deep exploration wells in the Red Sea.

At the same time the Kingdom is locked in negotiations with Shell over the price it will pay for gas from the Kidan sour gas field in Rub’ al-Khali (Empty Quarter), which is likely to cost more than $6/mn BTU to produce. The push for all of this activity comes from the pressing need to increase gas supplies – Saudi Arabia is increasing crude burning in power stations, and petrochemical projects are on hold due to lack of gas feedstock. (CONTINUED - 904 WORDS)