(AFP, RIYADH) - Oil Minister Ali al-Nuaimi on Wednesday announced the discovery of a new gas field in an area of eastern Saudi Arabia where exploration work started in April.
"According to initial estimates, the output capacity of this field is 17 million cubic feet (481,000 cubic metres) of gas and 2,500 barrels of condensate a day," he said, quoted by the official news agency SPA.
In the latest of several such finds, Nuaimi said the state company Saudi Aramco discovered the new field, named Al-Ghazal 1, some 100 kilometres (60 miles) to the west of the giant Al-Ghawar field.
Saudi Arabia, which sits on top of the world's biggest oil reserves, has estimated gas reserves of six trillion cubic metres (210 trillion cubic feet).
Planning to switch to gas-powered electricity generation and desalination as part of an industrialisation drive, the Gulf Arab state has invited international oil companies to invest in its upstream gas sector.
Eight US companies -- MobilExxon, Chevron, Texaco, Conoco, Phillips, Enron, Occidental (Oxy) and Marathon -- and Europe's BP Amoco, ENI, Royal Dutch Shell, TotalFinaElf took part in talks with a Saudi negotiating committee in May.
© Agence France Presse 2000
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