2004 News Story

Minister gives speech in Beirut on Saudi oil policy

Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Ali Al-Naimi delivered a lecture in Beirut today on the local, regional and international impact of Saudi Arabia’s oil policy. The Kingdom’s oil reserves, he said, are estimated at 261 billion barrels, one quarter of the world total, and its average daily production has this year exceeded 8 million barrels, representing ten percent of global output. Total oil production in the Arab world is over 21 million barrels per day; this represents 26 percent of global production, while more than 60 percent of proven world reserves lie in Arab lands. He predicted a change in this situation in the two coming decades, giving more room for increased oil supplies from the Arab region.

Minister Al-Naimi went on to affirm that Saudi Arabia has maintained the same oil policy, which aims at the stability of international oil markets through balance in supply and demand.  The Kingdom, he said, seeks reasonable prices that benefit both producers and consumers, and works with OPEC to try to keep the range between U.S. $ 22-28 per barrel for the OPEC basket. However, he explained that OPEC could not always determine that price, which is controlled by other market factors, and that the Kingdom's key role is to guarantee a surplus capacity to be used at times of crises of supply.

Turning to the government's strategic goal of reducing dependence of the national economy on petroleum, Minister Al-Naimi cited figures showing a reduction of the share of oil in the Gross National Product from around 60 percent thirty years ago to about 35 percent now.