Saudi Aramco
A general view shows the Saudi Aramco oil facility in Dammam city, Saudi Arabia, Nov. 23, 2007. HASSAN AMMAR/AFP/Getty Images

Saudi Arabia’s state-owned oil company Saudi Aramco will continue to increase capacity for both oil and gas production, and will also expand overseas through joint ventures, CEO Amin Nasser told journalists Tuesday during a media visit to the company’s headquarters in Dhahran. Recently, the company had announced plans to launch an initial public offering (IPO), which could be the biggest public listing of all time.

Output capacity at the company’s Shaybah oilfield is expected to go up by 33 percent, reaching 1 million barrels a day, in the next couple of weeks. The capacity expansion at Shaybah by 250,000 barrels a day is meant to compensate for decreasing output from other maturing fields, according to Reuters. The total refining capacity is planned to be increased to 8 million to 10 million barrels a day, up from the current 5.4 million barrels a day, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Aramco will also double its natural gas production over the next 10 years, Nasser said. The company aims to produce 23 billion standard cubic feet of natural gas a day, up from the current 12 billion cubic feet a day.

While Nasser did not specify if increased capacity would translate into a corresponding increase in crude output, he said Aramco would meet the heightened domestic demand as electricity consumption in the country surges during the summer months. He said demand was trending higher in other places as well, such as India and the U.S., and that the company expected demand to rise by 1.2 million barrels a day this year.

Aramco is also looking at opportunities to expand overseas, and is considering potential joint ventures in several places, including China, India, Indonesia, the U.S. and Vietnam.

“We are looking at the current market status that, even though challenging, is an excellent opportunity for growth,” Nasser said.

Proceeds from the company’s IPO plans, in which it is expected to divest about 5 percent share, are meant to contribute toward diversification of the Saudi Arabian economy, which is currently centered around oil and gas.

News that Aramco is going to increase output capacity further may impact crude oil prices, which have been making a jagged, tenuous recovery since falling below $30 a barrel in January. However, as of 6:25 a.m. EDT, Brent, the global benchmark, was trading at $44.35, a gain of about 1.6 percent.