State oil giant Saudi Aramco said that it expects to add half-a-million barrels per day (bpd) of crude to its maximum production capacity of 10.8 million bpd next December.
    
"Saudi Aramco’s maximum sustainable production capacity is 10.8 million bpd," the company said in a statement on a midyear meeting of the executive committee of its board of directors in Vienna.
    
"The grassroots Khursaniyah Crude Increment is expected to be in operation in December 2007, with a capacity of 500,000 barrels per day of Arabian Light Crude blend from the Abu Hadriya, Fadhili, and Khursaniyah fields" in the oil-rich Eastern Province, it said.
    
Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil producer and exporter, has officially put its oil production capacity at 11.3 million bpd. It is carrying out several multibillion-dollar projects to raise capacity to 12.5 million bpd by 2009.
    
An Aramco official said that the difference between the company’s maximum production capacity at present and the kingdom’s total production capacity comes from the output of a neutral zone that Saudi Arabia shares with Kuwait.
    
The statement said that discoveries during the first half of 2007 brought the total number of oil and gas fields under Saudi Aramco management to 102.
    
"Exploratory activities, development drilling, and special studies will continue through the year to meet or exceed the target addition of 5 trillion cubic feet [141.58 billion cubic meters] of non-associated gas, and to at least replace 2007 crude oil production," the statement said.
    
Saudi Arabia’s oil reserves stand at 261.2 billion barrels, or more than a quarter of the global total. It has proven natural gas reserves of 235 trillion cubic feet, the fourth largest in the world.

(Middle East Times)