The minister said the field at al-Reesh , northwest of the city of Dahran in the east of the kingdom, had yielded unconventional oil and as had the al-Ajramiyah well near the city of Rafha, near the border with Iraq.
Deposits of non-traditional gas has been found at two wells southwest of the Ghawar field. Production at these totalled 510,000 and 906,000 cubic metres per day.
Ghawar is Saudi Arabia’s largest deposit of shale oil.
The minister described the discoveries as important as they amounted to confirmation that the Tuwaiq escarpment could be a source for Arab Light oil.
Saudi Arabia is the world’s third largest producer of oil and one of the world’s most important exporters, accounting for about 17 % the world’s oil reserves. The kingdom produces about 8.9 million barrels of oil per day against the background of the OPEC+ agreement imposing limits on oil production. It has the capacity to boost production to greater than 12 million bpd.
Experts do not expect commercial exploitation of the new deposits in the near future – extraction of non-convention hydrocarbons is more expensive and the country has large reserves of “standard” oil.
But Saudi Arabia, as one of the leaders of the OPEC+ deal, will almost certainly need to replenish its resource base through the newly-discovered deposits.