Saudi Aramco talks with investors about $110 billion Jafurah gas project
(Bloomberg) — Saudi Aramco is talking with potential backers for its $110 billion Jafurah gas development as the oil producer plans to exploit one of the world’s largest unconventional gas fields.
The state-controlled company is seeking equity investors that could help fund the development of midstream and downstream projects at Jafurah in the east of the kingdom, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private.
The people said Aramco has reached out to private equity firms and other large funds that invest in infrastructure as part of the plans, which could offer stakes in assets such as carbon capture and storage projects, pipelines and hydrogen plants.
Investment bank Evercore Inc. is advising Aramco on the plans, the people said. They also said that talks are still at an early stage and details of the funding could change. A representative for Aramco declined to comment, while a spokesperson for Evercore didn’t have an immediate comment.
Jafurah is a key part of Saudi Arabia’s strategy to diversify its energy exports beyond oil. The field is estimated to hold 200 trillion cubic feet of raw gas, and Aramco expects to begin production there in 2025, reaching about 2 billion standard cubic feet per day of sales by 2030.
A large portion of the gas produced there will be used to create so-called blue hydrogen, Energy Minister Abdulaziz bin Salman said last year. The process is where emissions associated with hydrogen production are captured and stored in the kingdom, allowing the fuel to then be exported as a clean energy source.
The opening up of the Jafurah development to external investors would follow years of efforts to attract foreign capital into Aramco and some of its key assets. After a $30 billion initial public offering in 2019, the oil giant sold stakes in units that operate its network of oil and gas pipelines around the kingdom. The deals have raised about $28 billion for the company.