Shell, BP Sign On To Saudi Gas Initiative
Royal Dutch/Shell said on December 14th that it had signed a letter of intent signaling its interest in the long-awaited Saudi Arabian natural gas opening.
Shell sent the letter on December 13th after receiving an invitation from Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal, head of the Saudi ministerial negotiating team in charge of the Saudi gas initiative.
Shell Chairman Mark Moody Stuart said that: “The Saudi gas opening process provides an excellent opportunity for Shell to build upon its long history of partnership with the Saudi government and the Saudi people.”
BP Amoco also said on December 14th that it had signed a letter of intent for the gas initiative.
The negotiating team reportedly sent information packs on December 3rd to a dozen multinational oil and gas companies, including Royal Dutch/Shell, Phillips Petroleum Co., Chevron Corp., Exxon Mobil Corp., Texaco Inc., Conoco Inc., BP, Enron Corp., Occidental Petroleum Corp., Eni, Marathon Oil Co. and TotalFinaElf, regarding the proposals for the kingdom’s multi-billion dollar energy sector opening.
Announcements are expected from other firms in the coming days following the statements from Shell and BP.
The opening was announced in late 1998 and is part of the kingdom’s plans to liberalize its economy, create jobs and lure additional foreign investment.
In July, the negotiating team had outlined the kingdom’s plans for exploration and development, including three major gas projects.
The projects, including the Kidan/Shaybah gas development in the remote Empty Quarter area bordering the U.A.E., the Rabigh industrial city and Midyan/Burkhan area field development in the northwest and the Haradh/Harmaliyah gas development in the eastern province, involve gas exploration, field development and downstream investment tied to power generation, electricity or water desalination.