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Saudi Aramco to boost oil production

Saudi Aramco is planning to carry out two new projects by the end of the decade aimed at boosting the country's oil production.

According to the head of the state-run oil company, Saudi Arabia is producing less than 9 million barrels per day (bpd).

Saudi Aramco's chief execurive officer and president Abdallah Jumah was speaking at the Oil Summit of the Cambridge Energy Research Association's Annual Conference (CERA Week 2005) where he announced the company was in talks with prospective partners over a new export-oriented refinery.

"We have developed a plan to build, at least initially, an export refinery in the kingdom. And we are now talking to many prospective venturers," Jumah said.

Though he did not say which companies were being considered for the new plant, last month it was made known that Indian firms could possibly be invited to participate in a new 400,00-0 bpd plant.

The CEO reiterated that Aramco's Khursaniyah project would reach 500,000 bpd production in 2007 and that output from its Khurais oilfield was likely to total more than 1 million bpd before the end of the decade, closer to 2009.

These two projects form the cornerstone of the kingdom's bid to raise production capacity to 12.5 million bpd to satisfy growing world demand.

Editorial Notes: This report contrasts sharply with Matthew Simmons's far less optimistic comments here: -AF

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