1997 News Story

Oil retains importance despite non-oil sector growth

Minister of Finance and National Economy Dr. Ibrahim Ibn Abdulaziz Al-Assaf today stated that oil will continue to play an important role in the Saudi economy, noting, however, that the contribution of crude oil to the Gross National Product (GNP) decreased from 58 percent in 1974 to less than 30 percent in 1995.  Dr. Al-Assaf went on to say that the government of Saudi Arabia has long been aware that oil is a limited resource and has been working on diversification of the national income.

Yesterday, Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Ali Al-Naimi made a statement to the effect that although reserves of petroleum will no doubt one day be depleted, the last barrel will be from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.  Energy in general (and oil in particular) remains the sinew of modern life and the means for progress, unequaled by any other natural resource with the exception of  that of the real wealth of the Kingdom - its educated and trained personnel.