Saudi Arabia’s gas production will reach 15 billion cubic feet per day by 2016 compared to 7.7 billion cubic feet per day in 2002, a Saudi official said in Dubai.“The Kingdom will also have the largest network of refineries in the Middle East by 2016 with a refining capacity of 3.5 million bpd,” Prince Faisal bin Turki, advisor at the Ministry of Petroleum and Minerals, said. He was ddressing the sixth annual forum of the Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association. The prince said Saudi Arabia has been passing through a “golden period” in the petrochemical industries. “It is expected that the Kingdom’s gross production of petrochemicals, chemicals and polymers will reach 100 million tons by 2016 with a total investment of $150 billion by that year,” the prince said. “The ministry has diversified its petrochemical products to 120 new products that will enable it to establish future downstream industries that will support the Kingdom’s goal of diversifying the sources of the national economy,” he added.Petroleum resources would remain the source of wealth for the coming generations in the Kingdom, he said. “The Kingdom has been striving to increase people’s welfare with the returns of the investments in the sector. It also develops education and skills in the society with the aim of economic development and generation of job opportunities,” the prince said. After giving a brief sketch of the development of Kingdom’s hydrocarbon industry since 1938, the prince said the ministry currently stressed the need to focus on manufacturing valued added products. The prince said basic commodities were exported to other countries later to return as finished, value-added products. “This unreasonable situation should be looked into as it wastes plenty of job opportunities in the Kingdom while well-educated Saudi youths are without jobs,” the prince said. The prince added that the Kingdom is developing industrial clusters for downstream industries across the country to encourage the production of value added products locally.“The ministry also strives to guarantee the most ideal exploitation of the hydrocarbon resources,” he said.