via MSNBC, the world's leading oil exporter is working feverishly to ramp up production in its few remaining large untapped oil fields. Saudi Arabia is referring these production increases as the largest expansion of production in history, and if they bear out as expected, they could go a long way toward giving the globe additional breathing space to develop alternatives to the sticky black gold. Unlike most of their existing fields located in the northeastern corner of the nation, these fields are located west of the Suadi capital, Riyadh.
"Saudi Arabia's state-owned oil company, Aramco, is spending $10 billion to build the infrastructure to pump 1.2 million barrels of oil per day by next June from the Khurais field and its two smaller neighbors. That alone would be more than the total individual production of OPEC members Qatar, Indonesia and Ecuador.
The project forms the centerpiece of the Saudi plan to increase the total amount of oil it can produce to 12.5 million barrels per day by the end of 2009 — up from a little more than 11 million barrels per day now."
While there are technical hurdles to producing in this area, including the searing 100 degree heat and the need to pump in as much as 2 million gallons of seawater into the rock formaitons to maintain well pressure into the 5,000 foot deep oil strata, the Saudis believe they will be able to pump as much as 1.2 million barrels a day by next June. In addition, they expect production of up to 500,000 barrels a day from another new field located at Khursaniyah in August of this year, although this field had been expceted to go online at the end of 2007 but ran into equipment and labor shortages. They are also developing their last large oil formation in the Persian Gulf at Manifa.
Now if the morons we've elected to Congress would allow more drilling here at home, maybe we wouldn't be paying $4 a gallon for freaking the stuff the runs (for better or worse) our entire transportation industry. Still, some encouraging news on the subject is better than continued doom and gloom.