Monday, October 31, 2005

 

WTO Impact on Saudi Oil Industry

With Saudi Arabia admittance to the World Trade Organization the petroleum consuming world may now receive a much-needed glance into the inner workings and details of the Saudi oil industry. Although Western oil firms have been in Saudi Arabia for more than a century, speculation still abounds about the exact depth of the Saudi oil reserves. From what I understand, the location, depth, and life span of Saudi Arabia’s oil fields is one the state’s most closely held secrets. Could this admittance to the WTO eventually lead to the disclosure of the scientific and geological foundation of the Saudi oil industry?
I’m not certain it will happen over night. If Saudi Arabia is like all the other members of the WTO, it will bend the rules of the organization to the point of violation in the defense of its most cherished and essential industries. However, it should be interesting to find out what impact market forces and WTO membership will have on the opaque nature of the Saudi oil industry. Perhaps once those numbers are released the question about the future of oil supplies will be answered with greater authority and accountability than the official announcements of the monarchy.

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