Gulf States News - Issue 1019 - 14/07/2016

Saudi Arabian Oil Company (Saudi Aramco)’s future has come under intense scrutiny as potentially momentous reforms to the Saudi economy unfold, driven by Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS). The increased transparency implied by Aramco’s much-anticipated initial public offering (IPO) could force a significant change in the way the national oil company (NOC) does business. More detailed reserves and production data might emerge that would confirm whether skeptics – such as the late oil investment banker Matthew Simmons, who over a decade ago questioned the giant Ghawar field’s performance – are correct in arguing that Saudi reserves are much diminished from the authorities’ claims. This, in turn, would explain the urgency of the MBS team’s efforts to develop the non-oil economy and pose further questions about the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec)’s relevance.

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