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By Souhail Karam
RIYADH, Jan 6 (Reuters) - State oil giant Saudi Aramco is on track to hit its oil production capacity target of 12 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2009, an Aramco official said on Sunday.
The start of Aramco’s 500,000 bpd Khursaniyah oilfield was delayed a few months to the first quarter this year from December last year [ID:nL06732873].
Other expansion projects in the world’s largest oil exporter through to 2009 remain on schedule, Aramco’s Senior Vice President of Exploration and Production Amin al-Nasser said.
“We are going up to 12 million bpd (oil production capacity) in 2009,” Nasser said at a presentation to an energy conference in Riyadh.
Aramco’s total output capacity does not include the Saudi share of capacity in the neutral zone between the kingdom and Kuwait. Saudi Arabia is aiming for total output capacity, including the neutral zone, of 12.5 million bpd in 2009.
Saudi Arabia is spending billions on projects to meet growing world demand and maintain spare capacity of 1.5-2 million bpd of oil to deal with any unexpected outages in global supply.
A 250,000 bpd expansion at the Shaybah oilfield and the development of the 100,000 bpd Nuayyim field will add another 350,000 bpd of capacity by the end of 2008, he said.
The planned 1.2 million bpd Khurais oilfield is expected to start production by mid-2009. The 900,000 bpd Moneefa oilfield will start in September 2011, three months later than Aramco’s initial schedule.
He did not explain why Khursaniyah and Moneefa were delayed.
Aramco also aims to boost gas output capacity to 12 billion cubic feet per day (cfd) in 2011 from 9.5 billion cfd, he said.
By mid-July both the Khursaniyah and Hawiyah gas plants should have started, he added. According to Aramco data, the Khursaniyah plant will have capacity to process 1 billion cfd.
The Hawiyah plant expansion will increase gas production capacity at the field by 800 million cfd to 2.4 billion cfd.
The 1.5 billion cfd Karan gas project will start production by the end of 2011, Nasser added. Gas from the offshore Karan gas field will be processed with gas produced from the Moneefa oilfield.
Aramco aims to increase the recovery rate of oil from its fields to 70 percent from 50 percent through the use of advanced technology, Nasser added. That would help add around another 80 billion barrels to recoverable reserves in the next 20 years, he said.
Saudi Arabia has proven recoverable oil reserves of around 260 billion barrels, nearly a quarter of the world’s total reserves.
Total discovered oil resources - including proven, produced and oil in the ground currently seen as unrecoverable - stands at 722 billion barrels, Nasser said. The kingdom plans to raise this figure to 900 billion barrels through exploration over the next 20 years, he said. (Writing by Simon Webb, editing by David Cowell)