Saudi Aramco is launching the biggest shale gas development outside of the United States to boost domestic gas supply and end the burning of oil at its power generation plants, Chief Executive Officer Amin Nasser said on Monday.
Nasser said Aramco had developed fracking using seawater, which will remove the obstacle that a lack of water supply represents to fracking in the desert.
Aramco has drilled 150 wells since 2013 in the Jafurah shale gas field to prepare the development plan, he said.
Aramco will hold bidding rounds for work on the fields, and these and other firms are likely to be involved, Nasser said.
The new shale gas development would help the country to reduce burning an average of 800,000 barrels per day of crude and fuel for electricity, Nasser said. That would free up more crude for export if needed, he said, and reduce emissions.
The priority will be to supply domestic demand, Nasser said.