Saudi Arabia has been aggressively looking for anything and everything that can provide energy. Whether it is to maintain its status as the largest exporter of crude oil or to meet its own escalating domestic energy demands, the kingdom has considered solar and nuclear and everything in between.
Currently, of the 8.3 million barrels daily in oil production, almost half is consumed by domestic market especially industries. The domestic demand is expected to double by 2028 and if the existing resources are dedicated towards meeting that demand, it may compromise the export capacity of the kingdom.
One alternative is to burn gas for utilities and free crude for exports and this is perhaps the driving force behind its latest quest for energy resources through the planned exploration in the Red Sea.
The expected discovery will either be in the realm of crude oil or gas. In either case the discovery could mean more energy resources for the Kingdom which will fuel economic growth as well as maintain its position as the oil baron of the world.
Interestingly, the planned exploration in the Western Province of the Kingdom is not without its risk of possible “dry holes” and might very well mean a lot of wasted energy and money. There is also a possibility that the reservoirs contain crude oil along with associated gas in which case a whole infrastructure including processing facilities and pipelines connecting them to the rigs will be needed, none of which is available in the western province at the moment.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is also planning to add 41 GW of solar capacity to their grid over the next 20 years. Even though the number seems enormous and is almost equal to the entire power capacity of the kingdom, it is obvious that the Kingdom is set on maintaining its position as the oil tycoon and will go to any length to ensure that.
Image of Red Sea from Shutterstock