It was a state secret and the source of a kingdom’s riches. It was so important that U.S. military planners once debated how to seize it by force. For oil traders, it was a source of endless speculation.
Now the market finally knows: Ghawar in Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest conventional oil field, can produce a lot less than almost anyone believed.
When Saudi Aramco on Monday published its first ever profit figures since its nationalization nearly 40 years ago, it also lifted the veil of secrecy around its mega oil fields. The company’s bond prospectus revealed that Ghawar is able to pump a maximum of 3.8 million barrels a day — well below the more than 5 million that had become conventional wisdom in the market.
“As Saudi’s largest field, a surprisingly low production capacity figure from Ghawar is the stand-out of the report,” said Virendra Chauhan, head of upstream at consultant Energy Aspects Ltd. in Singapore.
The Energy Information Administration, a U.S. government body that provides statistical information and often is used as a benchmark by the oil market, listed Ghawar’s production capacity at 5.8 million barrels a day in 2017.
For the rest of this article: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-04-02/saudi-aramco-reveals-sharp-output-drop-at-super-giant-oil-field