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State-oil giant Saudi Arabian Oil Co., known as Saudi Aramco, said Monday it has started production at its vast Manifa oil field three months ahead of schedule.
Output at Manifa is expected to reach 500,000 barrels a day in July, which will gradually increase to 900,000 barrels a day by the end of 2014, Aramco said in an emailed statement.
Aramco has previously said that the field will have an initial capacity of 500,000 barrels a day of crude in the first half of 2013.
Crude from Manifa will feed refineries in the kingdom that are currently under construction. One is being built under a joint venture with France's Total SA and another with China's Sinopec.
Saudi Aramco, fully owned by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, is one of the largest oil and gas companies in the world, with activities in exploration, production, refining, distribution, shipping and marketing.
It plans to invest $35 billion over the next five years in crude oil exploration and development in a bid to keep its oil production portfolio robust, Chief Executive Khalid al-Falih has said.
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