Saudi Arabia's state-owned oil company Saudi Aramco has discovered two new oil and gas fields in the northern regions. Saudi Arabia's energy minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman Al-Saud said the new Abraq al-Toloul oil field, which lies to the south east of the northern city of Arar, flows with a daily rate of 3,189 barrels per day (bpd) of Arab light crude oil, along with 3.5 million cubic feet of natural gas.
Hadabat al Hajara gas field in al-Jof region has a daily production rate of 16 million cubic feets of natural gas, along with 1944 bpd of oil condensate, the minister, according to Reuters.
Aramco will carry on with its efforts to estimate the total amount of oil and gas in the two fields and is drilling more wells to determine their areas and capacities, he added.
Earlier this month, Aramco said profits plunged 73 percent in the second quarter of the year, reflecting a disastrous year for oil markets. Oil prices have fallen drastically over the past few months, with sales taking a hit at the world's biggest exporter. Saudi Aramco's result comes just days after its subsidiary, Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC), reported a third straight quarterly loss.
Bracing for Massive Hit
Saudi Arabia's economy largely depends on oil export, which could take a massive hit if the coronavirus pandemic continues to persist for a longer time. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Saudi Arabia is headed towards its deepest contraction in 30 years, with its economy set to shrink 6.8 percent in 2020.
Saudi Aramco, which listed in Riyadh last year in a record $29.4 billion flotation, has been the backbone of the country's economy. Naturally, this is now going to reflect on the country's GDP. Only a few days back, the United Nations said that Arab economies could shrink by 5.7 percent due to the coronavirus pandemic, which could push a quarter of the Arab population into poverty.
The IMF has particularly warned that Saudi Arabia's economy could take a massive hit and shrink 6.8 percent this year. This has made Saudi Arabia's government to consider all options to bolster its finances including selling state-owned assets. In fact, the country is reportedly considering introducing income tax for its citizens.
Saudi Arabian citizens so long didn't have to pay income tax although. However, expats and corporates pay a 20 percent income tax, while there is a flat 20 percent federal tax for all. Although such a move will help the country bolster its finances, it definitely will be a burden for its citizens.
(With Reuters Inputs)