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Saudi Arabian negotiators reportedly held talks with

ExxonMobil

(XOM)

and

BP Amoco

(BP)

during the weekend to discuss investment possibilities in the nation's gas sector.

Executives from

Royal Dutch

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,

TotalFinaElf

(TOT)

and

Chevron

(CHV)

were also set to hold talks with Saudi officials this weekend.

Saudi Arabia, the world's largest oil producer and exporter, has expressed interest in diversifying its production, rather than continuing to rely on crude oil exports. The oil companies are being asked to help develop known gas reserves and invest in downstream projects.

The crude oil sector in the country is off limits to foreign companies.