Oil giant Saudi Aramco is steaming ahead with the expansion of its Master Gas System (MGS) which aims to speed industrialisation and grow and diversify the kingdom's oil-dependent economy.

The grassroots Hawiyah gas plant, in the final stages of completion, is expected to start processing gas in September and come fully onstream in December, according to Saudi Aramco.
The new plant, the fourth in the kingdom's MGS, will boost the supply of sales gas to utilities and industries by 1.4 billion cubic feet (39.64 million cu metres) per day.

The kingdom, holder of the world's fourth biggest gas reserves, now produces about 3.5 billion cubic feet (bcf) per day of gas and intends to raise production capacity to process 7.0 bcf per day by year-end 2003.