Norsk Hydro Eyes Saudi Gas Invitation

Norsk Hydro said it would consider an invitation from Saudi Arabia to bid for projects in its gas sector. Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said during a visit to Oslo this week that Riyadh was re-launching a major opening of its gas sector and would invite 50 companies, including Norsk Hydro and Statoil, to bid to join. "We have received an invitation to take an interest in what is going to be offered for foreign companies' participation in Saudi Arabia," Norsk Hydro spokesman Tor Steinum said. "We will certainly look with interest at what Saudi Arabia is going to present to foreign companies, but we have no decision regarding this," he said.

Norsk Hydro would attend presentations that Saudi Arabia will make to international oil companies about the projects it is going to offer them. The Saudi Oil Minister confirmed during his visit to Norway that Saudi Arabia is re-launching a multi-billion dollar development of its gas industry after failing to reach agreement on three huge integrated projects.

The three projects, two led by ExxonMobil and one led by Shell, are now being split into upstream gas development and downstream industries as stand-alone ventures. "The combination of upstream and downstream projects has made it attract foreign companies, so now they are focusing more on upstream projects," Steinum said.