Saudi Arabia Oil Co., aka Aramco, achieved record natural gas production of 10.7 Bcf/d on one day in early August from conventional and unconventional fields, management said Wednesday.

The recordbreaking figure was set on Aug. 6, executives said during a third quarter conference call. There also are hints of improving demand for oil and gas.

“We saw early signs of a recovery in the third quarter due to improved economic activity, despite the headwinds facing global energy markets,” because of the global economic devastation from the Covid-19 pandemic, said CEO Amin Nasser.

Aramco, the world’s largest oil company in output and revenue, is expanding gas production for power generation and petrochemical feedstock. It also produces natural gas liquids (NGL).

The company discovered two unconventional fields in the third quarter, both in the northern part of the Kingdom. One field is a gas-heavy, while the other has oil and gas reserves, management said.

Aramco in February secured regulatory approval to develop the Jafurah unconventional natural gas field in the Eastern Province. Jafurah is considered the largest unconventional nonassociated gas field in the country. Reserves are estimated at 200 Tcf of rich gas that could provide feedstock for petrochemical industries.

Aramco also is jointly developing with Sempra Energy the proposed 11 million metric ton/year Port Arthur liquefied natural gas export project in Texas.

Hydrocarbon production in the first nine months of the year averaged 12.4 million boe/d, with oil accounting for 9.2 million b/d. Third quarter production figures were not provided.

Combined upstream and downstream sales were $26.5 billion for oil, $23.5 billion for refined and chemical products and $2.5 billion for natural gas and NGLs. That compared with year-ago sales of $43.5 billion for oil, $21.9 billion for refined and chemical products and $3.7 billion for natural gas and NGLs.

Nasser said Aramco’s integration with Saudi Basic Industries Corp., aka Sabic, the kingdom’s petrochemicals firm, “is proceeding as planned.”

Aramco last year bought 70% of Sabic to help pave the way for an infusion of investments into global oil and gas deals beyond the Middle East. Sabic and ExxonMobil in 2018 partnered to form Gulf Coast Growth Ventures, which is developing a 1.8 million metric ton/year ethane cracker in San Patricio County, TX. The project is scheduled to come on line in 2022, fueled by Lower 48 natural gas.

Aramco and Japan’s Institute of Energy Economics, in partnership with Sabic, successfully completed the world’s first shipment of high-grade blue ammonia in the third quarter, Aramco management said. Forty tons were delivered from Saudi Arabia to Japan for use in zero-carbon power generation.

Aramco earned $11.8 billion in the quarter, down from $21.3 billion a year ago but up from $6.6 billion in 2Q2020.