Riyadh seeks to ease production concerns

Oct. 16, 2012 at 9:33 AM

OXFORD, England, Oct. 16 (UPI) -- Preserving spare oil production capacity in Saudi Arabia is "crucial" to the health of the global economy, the head of the Saudi Arabian Oil Co. said.

Khalid al-Falih, the top executive at the Saudi company, was quoted by the Platts news service as saying during a recent presentation at Oxford University that $35 million in investments are planned for the next five years to keep oil production "robust."

"We also know that preserving our spare production capacity is crucial to maintaining oil market stability because it plays a pivotal role in protecting the world's economic health," he said. "It's a responsibility we have faithfully and reliably discharged over several decades, despite its high cost to us."

Platts reports that Saudi oil production in September was 9.85 million barrels per day. The kingdom had said it aims to keep spare production capacity at around 1.5 million bpd.

The Saudi Press Agency, meanwhile, reports that a $3.2 billion agreement was signed for the South Jeddah Steam Power Plant project. The government estimates four steam units there could generate as much as 2.6 gigawatts of power for the country.

GE said it expects the demand for gas turbines, used in the water-steam cycle from solar power, to expand readily in Saudi Arabia as it embraces a green economy.

A September report from Citigroup predicted that Saudi Arabia may need to start importing oil by 2030 to meet domestic energy demand.

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