Shell will soon pull out from South Rub’i al-Khali (SRAK) Shell/Saudi Aramco joint gas exploration venture that has searched for gas in Saudi Arabia’s Empty Quarter for years, Reuters reported on 7 March. Shell disagrees with the government over terms. Such a move would pressure Saudi Arabia’s petrochemical and power industries, which already face feedstock issues. Shell, however, while declining to say if it has decided to pull out of SRAK, says that talks with the government continue. A Shell spokesman says: “Shell is in regular dialogue with officials at the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources and our joint venture partner, Saudi Aramco, in the South Rub Al Khali Company Ltd (SRAK) on the Kidan project.” A Saudi industry official told Reuters that talks between Aramco and Shell were ongoing: “Shell has not withdrawn and has not applied to withdraw.”

At least three international oil companies (IOCs) – Repsol, Eni and Total – have already abandoned their search for commercially viable gas deposits in the desert in the south east. Shell has stayed longer after finding more gas at the existing kidan sour gas field, but Saudi Aramco and the IOCs have always grappled with the government’s selling price to consumers of $0.75/mn BTU. (CONTINUED - 385 WORDS)