JEDDAH: Over 39 trillion cubic meters of gas reserves remain undiscovered in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, the Dammam-based Arab Petroleum Investment Corporation (Apicorp) said in its study.
Proven gas reserves in the Gulf and other parts of MENA stood at around 84.5 trillion cubic meters (tcm) at the start of 2010 but nearly 39.6 tcm in extra resources are undiscovered, it said.
Apicorp is an affiliate of the 10-nation Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC).
Saudi Arabia has the highest rate of undiscovered gas wealth, estimated at around 19.2 tcm, it said in a study.
Apicorp’s chief economist Ali Aissaoui said at an energy conference in Beirut that Iran had around 8.9 tcm in undiscovered gas deposits while they were estimated at 3.39 tcm in Iraq, 1.38 tcm in Algeria, 1.26 tcm in the UAE, around 1.6 tcm in Qatar and 0.95 tcm in Oman.
Countries with undiscovered gas deposits of below one tcm include Yemen with around 0.6 tcm, Libya with 0.59 tcm, Egypt with 0.57 tcm and Sudan, Bahrain, Kuwait and Tunisia, ranging between 0.2 and 0.4 tcm. The report showed Iran holds the largest recoverable gas resources in MENA, estimated at 29.6 tcm.
It was followed by Qatar with 25.3 tcm, Saudi Arabia, with nearly 7.9 tcm, the UAE with 6.4 tcm and Algeria with 4.5 tcm.
Proven gas reserves were put at 3.17 tcm in Iraq, 2.1 tcm in Egypt, 1.78 tcm in Kuwait, 1.5 tcm in Libya, 0.98 tcm in Oman and 0.62 tcm in Yemen.
The study estimated MENA’s cumulative gas production at 8.4 tcm, including 1.86 tcm in Algeria, nearly 1.7 tcm in Iran, 1.32 tcm in Saudi Arabia, 0.92 tcm in the UAE, 0.69 tcm in Qatar, 0.58 tcm in Egypt and 0.24 tcm in Oman.
It showed Qatar had the highest gas-to-oil reserve ratio in the region, standing at around 0.86 percent. It was followed by Egypt with a ratio of 0.77 percent.
The ratio was estimated at 0.69 percent in Tunisia, 0.59 percent in Iran, 0.55 percent in Yemen, 0.54 percent in Oman and 0.43 percent in Syria.
Saudi Arabia and the UAE have one of the lowest ratios of 0.17 percent and 0.13 percent respectively given their massive crude resources.
In a previous study, OAPEC noted that the Arab region also holds massive undiscovered oil deposits, estimated at around 175 billion barrels plus nearly 678 billion barrels of gas liquids.
In the UAE, the undiscovered reserves were put at around 7.7 billion barrels of crude oil and 2.4 billion of gas liquids. They were estimated at 87.1 billion barrels of crude and 48.9 billion barrels of gas liquids in Saudi Arabia.
In Kuwait, undiscovered reserves were estimated at about 3.8 billion barrels of crude and around 0.2 billion barrels of gas liquids. In Iraq, they were put at 54.1 billion barrels of oil and around 6.2 billion barrels of gas liquids.
Meanwhile, Saudi Aramco received construction bids for a natural gas liquids (NGL) project in its Shaybah oilfield.
Shaybah NGL is one of two new gas projects Aramco plans to develop to boost gas output and meet domestic demand rising at 5-6 percent annually.
Shaybah NGL is designed to process 2.4 billion cubic feet per day (cfd) of low-sulfur sweet gas and extract 264,000 bpd of NGL which will be shipped to the Juaymah Gas Plant for further fractionation.
Construction deals for Shaybah NGL will be awarded in the first quarter of this year and the plant would come on stream in late 2014, Khalid Al-Falih, Aramco’s chief executive said in December.
The project calls for the construction of an NGL recovery plant, a cogeneration facility, a gas treatment facility, and gas handling facilities to debottleneck Shaybah’s gas-oil separation plants (GOSP).
Aramco signed in December with US General Electric deals related to the third construction package of the project.