Natural Gas: Middle East Reserves of Natural Gas
NATURAL GAS: MIDDLE EAST RESERVES OF NATURAL GAS
Natural gas must be transported by pipeline or liquefied by refrigeration in the form of liquid natural gas and transported on specially built ships. The liquefaction process is substantially more expensive. But since the main demand for gas from the Gulf has come from users in the Far East, Europe, and the United States, liquefaction has been the only option and has made the production of the main Gulf gas fields less competitive. Gas from Algeria—because it can be piped under the Mediterranean—has been extensively used in Europe.
Natural gas has become the major feedstock for petrochemicals. The development of the petro-chemical industry in the Gulf region has given impetus to the development of the fields. Saudi Arabia uses most of its produced natural gas for firing desalination plants, running power plants, and producing 35 million tons per year of petrochemicals and fertilizers, which are exported worldwide.
In the mid-1990s some major projects were undertaken to develop fields and liquefaction plants for exports, mainly in Qatar and Oman. Because of
|country||gas production*||gas reserves**|
|*in billion cubic meters|
|**in trillion cubic feet|
|source: british petroleum review of world gas; united states energy information administration.|
|table by ggs information services, the gale group.|
|united arab emirates||41.3||212.1|
|other middle east||8.1||10.2|
|total middle east||228||1,974.6|
|% of world total||9.3||36.1|
|% of world total||4.3||4.3|
this expansion of Qatari and Omani liquefied natural gas exports, the Middle East was the fastest-growing gas production region in 2001.
see also petrochemicals; petroleum, oil, and natural gas.