Saudi Aramco chief says maintaining oil and gas investment

Mon Jan 25, 2016 10:05am EST
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By Reem Shamseddine and Dmitry Zhdannikov

RIYADH/LONDON (Reuters) - National oil giant Saudi Aramco is continuing to invest in oil and gas production capacity despite cost-cutting due to low oil prices, its chairman Khalid al-Falih said on Monday.

Aramco's plans starkly contrast with governments and oil firms outside the Gulf, which have been reducing capital spending sharply in response to financial pressures as crude prices drop to 12-year lows.

Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter, is determined to protect or expand its market share when the balance between supply and demand eventually improves and prices recover.

"Our investments in capacity of oil and gas have not slowed down - we have been able to do a lot of cuts in spending by simply driving down costs," Aramco chairman Khalid al-Falih told a panel discussion at a business conference."

"Saudi Arabia is well documented to be the clear lowest cost producer," he told reporters later. "We have scale, capability, technologies that have allowed us to maintain our low cost."

He said global oil supply and demand would balance at a "moderate" price soon.

"Demand will grow, as it has already started in 2015, and there will be a period not far into the future (when) demand will catch up with supply," he said.

Late last year, Saudi Aramco's magazine Arabian Sun said the company would focus on controlling costs and would prioritize projects. It will re-examine existing contracts and seek cost-containment opportunities in future contracts for goods and services, the magazine said.   Continued...

File photo of Saudi Aramco Chairman Khalid al-Falih speaking to the media at the company's booth during Petrotech 2014 (a petrochemicals conference) at the Bahrain International Exhibition Centre in Manama May 19, 2014. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed