Royal Dutch Shell is ending investments in a gas development project in Saudi Arabia, complicating the top oil exporter's efforts to exploit its huge gas reserves.
The search for gas has been a priority for Saudi Arabia as it struggles to keep pace with rapidly rising domestic demand. But the emergence of the shale gas industry has opened up more lucrative opportunities for energy companies elsewhere.
"Shell has decided to end further investment in the Kidan development," it said in an emailed statement. "This was a difficult decision but Shell remains committed to the Kingdom and we are keen to grow our investments, both in upstream and downstream."
Shell did not give a reason for the decision to shelve the joint venture in the Kidan area of the Empty Quarter, the sea of sand dunes that cover south-east Saudi Arabia.And with ISIS/ISIL on its borders, Saudi Arabia is beginning to have its hands full. Perhaps Russia will be happy to help.