Saudi Aramco is looking for more acquisitions in LNG following a first-ever deal in the industry last month, as it sees growing demand for the fuel.
Aramco last week announced its entry into the market with the purchase of a stake in a company that’s acquiring interests in four Australian LNG projects. It will evaluate opportunities elsewhere too, said Aramco’s Upstream President Nasir Al-Naimi.
“We see indications that the LNG market is positioned for structural, long-term growth,” he said in written answers to emailed questions. “Aramco’s intention is to become a leading global LNG player.”
The giant oil producer is diversifying beyond its core business and pursuing significant growth in gas and lower carbon energy solutions, according to Al-Naimi. Europe is adding LNG terminals to replace Russian pipeline gas, and in Asia, many nations are transitioning from dirtier fuels such as coal and fuel oil to cleaner gas.
Aramco may use mergers and acquisitions to build its LNG business, the executive said. The increase in global LNG trade from 100 million tons in 2000 to nearly 400 million tons in 2022 highlights why Aramco is interested in joining the growing market.
Its stake in MidOcean Energy, which it agreed to buy last week, is worth $500 million, with an option to further increases in its holding.
“This investment will enable us to meet the rising global demand for LNG, especially in key markets such as Asia and Europe where we’re seeing more infrastructure being established for LNG import,” Al-Naimi said.
Aramco is also exploring options for natural gas and LNG within the kingdom, while any planned allocated gas volumes will be used to either meet local demand or export needs.
The company aims to expand its gas production by at least 50% until 2030 compared to 2021 levels. Its Jafurah field is expected to start production in 2025, with a plan to gradually increase natural gas deliveries to 2 billion standard cubic feet a day by 2030. Producing more gas will also help replace oil burnt for power production, freeing up more crude for export.