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Saudi Aramco moves ahead with 550,000 b/d Marjan and Berri field expansions

London — Saudi Aramco said Tuesday it has awarded $18 billion of contracts to expand the Marjan and Berri fields, adding 550,000 b/d of Arabian Crude to its capacity.

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The projects will boost Marjan's potential output of Arabian Medium grade oil by 300,000 b/d, with an extra 250,000 b/d of Arabian Light to come from Berri, the state-owned company said in a statement.

"These two programs will significantly enhance Saudi Aramco's oil production and gas processing capabilities, both strengthening our position as the leading integrated energy supplier and meeting growing long-term demand for petroleum," said Amin Nasser, president and CEO of Saudi Aramco.

The company added that its maximum sustained capacity is 12 million b/d.

Saudi Arabia is under pressure to invest more in boosting capacity as it loses market share to the US, which is now the world's largest producer of crude and increasingly an exporter of oil. Saudi Arabia's output jumped by 150,000 b/d in June to 9.85 million b/d, according to the latest survey of OPEC production by S&P Global Platts.

Aramco said Tuesday that the Marjan field project would also add 350,000 b/d of natural gas liquids along with 2.5 Bcf/d of gas. The Berri project will include the construction of a new gas oil separation plant in Abu Ali Island, with capacity to process 500,000 b/d of crude, and gas handling facilities at Khursaniyah capable of processing 40,000 b/d of condensate.

-- Andy Critchlow,

-- Edited by James Leech,