This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.
Last Published: 11/5/2018


Saudi Arabia has the second-largest proven oil reserves in the world (about 266 billion barrels).  The Kingdom possesses approximately 18 percent of the world’s proven petroleum reserves and ranks as the largest exporter of petroleum.  Its oil and gas sector accounts for about 50 percent of gross domestic product, and about 70 percent of export earnings (Source: OPEC).

Saudi Arabia Crude Oil Production and Exports

Crude Oil Production b/d (million)
Crude Oil Exports b/d (million)2,6032,799N/A
Exchange Rate: 1USD3.75 Saudi Riyal3.75 Saudi Riyal3.75 Saudi Riyal

(Source: Saudi Aramco)

The state-owned Saudi Arabian Oil Company (Saudi Aramco) continues to identify new fields, expand existing fields, and enhance production.  In 2016, Saudi Aramco discovered two new oil fields: Jubah, 300 kilometers north of Dammam, and Sahaban, 280 kilometers south of Dammam.  It also discovered one new gas field, Hadidah, 470 kilometers south of Dammam.  There are now 130 fields in total.  Maximum sustainable crude production capacity is 12 million barrels per day, according to Saudi Aramco, and the Kingdom plans to maintain that capacity through 2020.  In 2017, Saudi Aramco produced 10.2 million barrels per day of crude oil, and total petroleum and natural gas hydrocarbon production rose by three percent.

Saudi Aramco has continued drilling wells to increase the production capacity of the Khurais field, located 150 kilometers southeast of Riyadh, by 300,000 bpd to raise current capacity from 1.2 million bpd to 1.5 million bpd by mid-2018.

The company aims to nearly double its gas production to 23 billion standard cubic feet per day (scf/d) over the next decade.  In its early phase, the Fadhili gas plant is expected to process 2.5 billion scf/d from onshore and offshore fields and is on track to come on-stream by 2019.  The Wasit gas plant currently extracts and processes up to 2.5 billion scf/d of non-associated sour gas from the offshore Arabiyah and Hasbah fields (Source: Aramco).

In June 2018, Saudi Aramco signed a shareholder agreement with National Oilwell Varco, Inc. (NOV) to form a joint venture partnership to establish an integrated world-class on-shore rig and equipment manufacturing and aftermarket facility in Ras Al-Khair in Saudi Arabia.  In May 2017, Saudi Aramco signed agreements with Rowan for the creation of offshore drilling company in-Kingdom and with Nabors for onshore drilling improvisation and optimization.


Leading Sub-Sectors

Saudi Aramco is increasing its natural gas production to meet domestic needs and is shoring up its evolving chemical industry by providing the essential raw materials.  The company also intends to reduce its practice of burning oil for domestic power, thus freeing up more barrels for exports.

In March 2018, Jacobs Engineering Group signed a deal with Saudi Aramco to provide engineering and project management services at the Zuluf field.  The company will set up onshore processing facilities to process 500,000 b/d of crude oil produced from the offshore field. 

In November 2017, Saudi Aramco awarded USD 4.5 billion worth contracts to several oil and gas service contractors for megaprojects designed to enhance the company’s energy sustainability, diversify the economy, expand gas production, and localize domestic content.  As part of the gas expansion production the following agreements were signed:

  • Madrid-based Técnicas Reunidas was awarded three contracts under the Gas Compression Program in the southern area.  The project will improve and sustain gas production from the Haradh and Hawiyah fields for the next 20 years by bringing an additional one billion standard cubic feet per day (scfd). 

  • The Hawiyah Gas Plant (HGP) Expansion contract was awarded to the Italian firm SNAMPROGETTI (Saipem).  The project will provide additional gas processing facilities to process raw sweet gas to efficiently meet the Kingdom's energy demand.

  • The Free Flow Pipeline contract for Haradh and Hawiyah was awarded to the China Petroleum Pipelines Company.

  • Engineering and project management services contract for the Zuluf Field Development Program was awarded to Jacobs Engineering, Inc.

  • The Pipeline and Trunk line contract for the Safaniyah Field project was awarded to UAE-based National Petroleum Construction Company (NPCC).

  • The Slipover Platforms and Electrical Distribution Platform contract for the Safaniyah Field project was awarded to McDermott Middle East.


With the world’s fifth-largest estimated shale gas reserves, there is great potential for Saudi Arabia to replicate North America’s unconventional growth.  Saudi Aramco’s unconventional program became operational in 2013, and the company has been working with major service companies, including Halliburton and Schlumberger, to develop its reserves.

The primary driver is the country’s pressing need to find new supplies of gas to replace the domestically produced crude oil used to generate most of its electric needs – demand that can reach as high as 900,000 B/D in summer. Another major aim is to use unconventional gas to bolster the country’s growing petrochemical industry.

To accelerate the effort, the national oil company has so far committed at least USD 10 billion to its unconventional exploration program and is actively recruiting experienced unconventional experts from North America to join its ranks.

The company’s unconventional ambitions are focused on three different areas in Saudi Arabia.  The first is in the northern part of the country.  The target formation is called the Qusaibia Hot Shale and is found at a depth between 6,000 to 8,000 feet.  The shale is relatively shallow and is the source rock for conventional gas fields in the area.  The gas produced from this area will support a major mining project still under construction and a new power plant.

The other two plays are in the eastern province and located along the periphery of the Ghawar oil field, the largest conventional oil field in the world.  These two areas will benefit from their proximity to existing infrastructure and the large amount of geological data already collected from the development of Ghawar.

In May 2018, Saudi Aramco awarded Halliburton a three-year contract for unconventional gas stimulation services as part of its efforts to unleash a natural gas revolution in Saudi Arabia.  Per the deal, the oilfield services major will provide project management, hydraulic fracturing, and intervention services to meet Saudi Aramco’s production targets and improve the economics of its unconventional resources program.  The program mainly covers three regions: Northern Kingdom, South Ghawar and Jafurah Basin.



In November 2017, Saudi Aramco and Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to develop a fully-integrated crude oil-to-chemicals (COTC) complex in the Kingdom.  The COTC complex is expected to process 400,000 barrels per day of crude oil, which will produce approximately nine million tons of chemicals and base oils annually and is expected to start operations in 2025.  In April 2018, KBR was awarded the project management and front-end engineering and design (FEED) for the COTC project.

Saudi Aramco has signed a preliminary deal with a French oil group to build a giant petrochemical complex in the Kingdom.  The project will require investment of about USD5 billion and will be integrated with an oil refinery that is already operated as a joint venture between Aramco and Total.  Engineering and design work is due to begin in the third quarter of 2018.

Saudi Aramco is planning to develop a mega refinery on India's west coast with three Indian state-owned oil companies.  The refinery, located about 215 miles south of Mumbai, will cost USD 44 billion to build and will be capable of processing around 1.2 million barrels of crude oil a day.



Saudi Aramco is forecast to spend approximately USD 414 billion over the next 10 years on projects in the areas of material and services to support service facilities, infrastructure, drilling and maintenance [oil], and unconventional resources (both in the exploration phase and development) (Source: MEED).

Saudi Aramco’s investment will be directed towards new gas and oil plants to meet growing energy demand and to increase petrochemical production.  The National Transformation Program highlights the following initiatives it intends to carry out in this sector over the next five years:
•              Increase refining capacity from 2.9 million to 3.3 million barrels of oil per day by 2020;
•              Develop high efficiency clean fuel production; and
•              Maintain peak oil production at 12.5 million barrels of oil per day.

In its drive to boost local industry and create jobs, Saudi Aramco plans to develop an energy industrial city between Al Ahsa and Dammam, which includes manufacturing oil-and-gas equipment and drilling centers for Aramco.

For bidding on Saudi Aramco procurement and contracting (EPC) contracts, or becoming a Saudi Aramco supplier, companies must first go through Saudi Aramco’s extensive pre-qualification process.  Bidders should be ready to meet Saudi Aramco’s In-Kingdom Total Value Add (IKTV) targets.  IKTV program aims to double Saudi Aramco’s domestic spending, from 35 percent of expenditures to 70 percent by 2021.  This program imposes localization requirements that differ by contract and sector.  


Web Resources

Saudi Aramco
Aramco Services Company
Procurement and Logistics Department
Houston, TX, (713) 432-5555,

For more information contact the U.S. & Foreign Commercial Service in Saudi Arabia at, or


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Saudi Arabia Oil and Gas Trade Development and Promotion