Saudi Arabia has grouped foreign oil companies into three potential consortia for investment in the kingdom’s much-anticipated energy sector opening, according to industry sources on December 6th.
The Saudi ministerial negotiating team sent out information packs to 12 oil and natural gas companies on December 3rd, grouping selected firms for three key natural gas packages on offer under the kingdom’s gas initiative projects.
Exxon Mobil Corp., Royal Dutch/Shell, BP Amoco, TotalFinaElf, Phillips Petroleum Co., Chevron Corp., Texaco Inc., Conoco Inc., Eni, Marathon Oil Co. and a joint venture between Enron Corp. and Occidental Petroleum Corp. were short listed for investment in the Saudi upstream gas sector.
Seven companies were combined for the largest gas project, the Haradh development, while the Kidan/Shaybah and the Red sea area developments were each assigned a group of four companies.
Several of the companies were selected to participate in more than one project, while others were granted investment opportunities unrelated to the gas initiative projects.
Some proposals were accepted for gas exploration and development projects throughout the kingdom, except in areas in which Saudi Aramco’s operations would be affected.
The Saudi negotiators have said that the consortia can be amended and have not yet named project leaders.
The companies must submit letters of procedural intent by year’s end in order to move ahead with the projects, with memorandums of understanding expected to be signed in the first quarter of 2001