In a recent speech Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Mr. Ali Al-Naimi referred to the major political, economic and financial changes over the last twenty years, that have had a notable effect on life and prosperity worldwide and have led to the collapse of central planning for the economy while promoting successful free market policies. “At the moment”, said Mr. Al-Naimi, “the international economy is more independent and integrated than at any time before”, and pointed out that the energy and oil markets had also witnessed changes, becoming more integrated and competitive. Dialogue between oil producers and consumers was welcomed by the Oil Minister, who said: “This explains the change witnessed by the world since the start of the cooperation between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Venezuela and other oil-producing companies, that paved the way for the emergence of the oil cartel known as “OPEC” in September 1960”.
“The oil industry”, said Mr. Al-Naimi, “has proved to be capable of effectively confronting all challenges whether political, environmental, or caused by market situations”, adding: “In the light of the changing circumstances of the market and the new international nature of the industry, the Kingdom has taken the required measures to merge its industry at both the local and international levels. We have implemented a brave plan to enhance our existence in the field of international refining and marketing so as to increase the integration of our oil industry and make it more competitive and efficient.”
Mr. Al-Naimi pointed out that the latest technology had contributed positively to decreasing the cost of exploring for oil, adding that over the past twenty years and after an accumulated production of about 450 billion barrels, international reserves have jumped from 580 billion barrels in 1975 to about one trillion barrels today, with traditional oil producers in the Middle East as well as Venezuela retaining the same quantity of oil reserves as they had twenty years ago. Moreover, new techniques of refining and marketing have enabled the oil industry to respond positively to environmental requirements. Just as low energy prices have contributed to the high standard of development and prosperity of the developed countries, the future economic growth in developing countries will similarly depend on the availability of oil production.