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Aramco exports lower in 2010, output steady

Al Khobar, June 6, 2011

Crude exports of the state oil firm of the world's largest oil exporter Saudi Aramco dropped slightly in 2010 but output remained at the same level of 2009, Aramco said in an annual review on Monday.

Exports fell to 2.02 billion barrels in 2010 from 2.06 billion barrels in 2009 or to 5.5 million bpd from 5.65 million bpd in 2009, it said.

Aramco exported 55.5 percent of its crude to the Far East, which is already Saudi Arabia's main crude export market.

The firm supplied China, its top crude buyer around 1 million bpd of crude in 2010, it added.

Crude output in 2010 was steady from 2009 at 7.9 million barrels per day (bpd) but was still below 2008 levels at 8.9 million bpd as the OPEC's leading producer continued to shoulder the biggest share of the cartel's cut in late 2008.

Capacity and output from the Neutral Zone shared by Kuwait and Saudi Arabia is excluded from Aramco figures.

According to data provided by the the Joint Data Initiative (JODI) and calculated by Reuters, Saudi Arabia produced on average 8.16 million bpd in 2010.

Aramco's oil reserves remained 260.1 billion barrels in 2010, the world's largest.

"During the year (2010), the company maintained its world -leading conventional crude oil reserves at 260.1 billion barrels, replacing 2010 production with oil from new field discoveries, expansions of existing fields and production optimization," it said.

Aramco expedited exploration activities and discovered in 2010 four new oilfields -- Namlan-1; AsSayd-1; Arsan-1; Qamran-1 and one new gas field Jalamid-3, and six new oil reservoirs and three gas reservoirs were added to existing fields, it said.

That raises the number of discovered fields to 112, it added.

It said "it maintained its maximum sustainable production capacity of 12 million bpd, reached in 2009, including considerable spare capacity to help stabilize international oil markets during any potential crisis."

The kingdom has a long-held policy of maintaining a capacity buffer of 1.5-2 million bpd to meet unexpected interruptions in oil flows. It has now in hand around 3-3.5 million bpd of spare capacity.

Aramco's refined products output rose in 2010 to 499.7 million barrels compared to 496.1 million barrels while exports dropped to 133.4 million barrels from 149.3 million barrels in 2009.

Aramco completed in 2009 through 2010 a massive crude expansion programme which took its capacity to 12 million bpd.

"Significant progress was made on another giant oil increment 900,000 bpd Manifa," the report said. "We added more than 200,000 bpd in our maintain potential program; and launched an upgrade of Safaniya, the world's largest offshore oilfield."

Aramco's gas reserves rose to 279 trillion cubic feet, up from 275.2 trillion cubic feet in 2009. Saudi Arabia holds the world's fifth largest gas reserves.

The company pumped 9.4 billion cubic feet of gas per day, up from 8.6 billion cfd in 2009.

Aramco exported 316.4 million barrels of natural gas liquids (NGL).

The firm is now focusing more on frontier and emerging areas, such as the Red Sea for future oil exploration activities and is looking into potential conventional and unconventional reservoirs, offshore and deep-water targets, it said.

It started evaluating tight gas and shale gas where it would initially focus on the northwest and in the area of Ghawar, where gas infrastructure is already in place. It said studies and research programs are already underway to locate specific wells planned for 2011.  - Reuters




Tags: Saudi Arabia | aramco | Oil | crude exports |

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