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Map of Saudi Arabia

Current Oil Production[edit]

At its current state the country of Saudi Arabia produces slightly over 11 million barrels of oil per day. [1] This amount of oil production is vital in global markets as Saudi Arabia exports a reported 8.9 billion barrels/day.[2] The difference in production versus shipping accounts for the amount of internal oil use by the nation of Saudi Arabia. A current Saudi investment of over $70 Billion seeks to increase oil production to near 12 million barrels per day by 2009 and up to 12.5 million barrels per day by 2015. [3] This may be attributed to the report that 700,000 barrels of excess capacity are needed to compensate for a natural decline in availability. [4]


The oil produced in Saudi Arabia leaves the nation through several different modes of transportation. The Majority of the oil is loaded onto super tankers where it is then taken to refineries around the world. Three major ports are used for the shipping, Ras Tanura which is recognized as the world's largest offshore oil loading facility and it has a 6 million bbl/d capacity. The Ras al-Ju'aymah facility is located on the Persian Gulf and it is here where near 75% of the exports are loaded. The last of the three largest terminals is the Yanbu terminal located on the Red Sea. [5]. The enormous sea shipping capacity is vital to Saudi Arabia as they do not operate any international pipelines.

Oil as a Part of Saudi Economy[edit]

Saudi Aramco's Core Area in Dhahran City

The International Monetary Fund, reported that in 2005 Oil accounted for 90% of Saudi Arabia’s export earnings, 70-80% of state revenue and 44% of the GDP. [6] These figures accurately display the reliance of the Saudi economy on the oil industry. Until 1973 the government of Saudi Arabia was not receiving a share of the oil drilled within its boundaries. In 1973 the Saudi government gained a 25% share of the interest from Aramco.[7] In 1980 the Saudi government purchased nearly 100% of the Aramco oil business. This purchase gave Saudi government officials complete control over the oil prices and production. By 1988 the oil company was renamed Saudi Aramco, which is its current name. .[8] Oil has helped to make Saudi Arabia a nation with a GDP of $20,700/person. [9] The company is controlled by the government but also has a board of advisors and a CEO. The current CEO and President of Saudi Aramco is A Bdallah S. Jum’ah. [10]

Projected Reserves[edit]

As of January 2007, Saudi Aramco, the national oil company of Saudi Arabia owns 259.9 billion barrels of proven oil reserves. [11] A part of these reserves is the Ghawar oil field, which is the largest oil field in the world. The Ghawar field is home to over 70 billion barrels of the proven Saudi oil reserve and is able to produce 5 million barrels of oil per day.[12] Aramco announced 100,000 bbl/d expansion and integration with neighboring petrochemical plants upgrades for Ras Tanura and Yanbu by 2010 to 2012. [13]

New Oil Fields in Development[edit]

The following new oil fields will introduce up to 3.6 million barrels per day to the production capacity by 2011.

  • Haradh
  • Khurais
  • Khusaniyah
  • Manifa
  • Neutral Zone (shared with Kuwait)
  • Nuayyin
  • Shaybah I II & III

Other Energy and Non- Energy Resources[edit]

Natural Gas[edit]

Often related to the discovery of oil fields is the discovery of natural gas deposits. As a result Saudi Arabia has the fourth largest reserve of Natural Gas in the world. The Saudi natural gas reserve is 240 trillion cu ft and 1/3 of this reserve is found in the Ghawar Oil field. [14] Prior to the Master gas system being developed the oil company was forced to flare(burn) the gas as it came from the oil well. Up until recently the production of Natural Gas has been heavily controlled as it is so closely linked to oil production. However the government of Saudi Arabia and Saudi Aramco were criticized for providing heavily subsidized Natural Gas to its consumers by the World Trade Organization. According to the Energy Information Agency the price was $0.75 MMBtu American dollars. [15]


The electrical generation needs of Saudi Arabia are projected to hit 60 GW which is equivalent to the energy requirements of South Korea. [16] The electricity that is currently generated in Saudi Arabia is 65 % from Natural Gas 27% from steam and 8% from oil. The current generation capacity is some where around 30 Gw. [17] This will serve to create an energy shortage in the near future which is why Saudi Arabia is searching for new ways to generate energy.


Water is also becoming a resource issue in Saudi Arabia as its desert climate lacks vital freshwater resources. No current water figures were available but the government of Saudi Arabia has recently spent $50 Billion to meet the nations water needs by the year 2020.

New Energy[edit]

The government of Saudi Arabia has recently approved the construction of a $300 million dollar facility that is designed to turn waste into energy. The facility, will combust 180 tons of waster per day, in order to produce 6MW of generating capacity and 250,000 gallons of distilled water. [18]

OPEC headquarters in Vienna

Political Obstacles and Control[edit]

In Saudi Arabia, Saudi Aramco and OPEC set the amounts and prices of Oil. According to OPEC, oil will continue to supply 90% of the worlds commercial energy needs until the year 2030. [19] Asia is to account for nearly 60% of the increase in global energy needs, and Saudi Arabia exports 50% of its oil to Asia. [20] New business and control over the non renewable energy resource of oil will serve as a global obstacle to energy prices. Other factors that influence oil avalibility out of the region are war and terrorism. Instability in the country or the region could serve to disrupt the oil supply as production was interrupted during the Iran-Iraq War.


  1. ^ The World Factbook
  2. ^ The World Factbook
  3. ^ Energy Information Agency, Country Analysis Briefs 2007,
  4. ^ Energy Information Agency, Country Analysis Briefs 2007,
  5. ^ Energy Information Agency, Country Analysis Briefs 2007,
  6. ^ Energy Information Agency, Country Analysis Briefs 2007,
  7. ^ Saudi Aramco History
  8. ^ Saudi Aramco History
  9. ^ Energy Information Agency, Country Analysis Briefs 2007,
  10. ^ Saudi Aramco History
  11. ^ Saudi Aramco History
  12. ^ Saudi Aramco History
  13. ^ Energy Information Agency, Country Analysis Briefs 2007,
  14. ^ Energy Information Agency, Country Analysis Briefs 2007,
  15. ^ Energy Information Agency, Country Analysis Briefs 2007,
  16. ^ Energy Information Agency, Country Analysis Briefs 2007,
  17. ^ Energy Information Agency, Country Analysis Briefs 2007,
  18. ^ Energy Information Agency, Country Analysis Briefs 2007,
  19. ^ World Oil Outlook 2007, OPEC,
  20. ^ World Oil Outlook 2007, OPEC,

Library of Congress Country Study: Saudi Arabia,