OPEC recently announced that Saudi Arabia’s proven oil reserves were surpassed only by Venezuela. However, the Latin American nation is much less attractive to major oil investors, leaving Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest exporter of oil – now, and for years to come. There may be problems, however. A cable released by Wikileaks from Riyadh, written in 2008, revealed that senior Saudi officials expressed worry that the country’s reserves may have been massively overstated – by 40 percent. As tensions rise over Iran’s nuclear program, Saudi Arabia will have to address an additional challenge as well: How long is the country willing to export 9 million barrels of oil per day, up from January’s 7.5 million, to keep global oil prices from rising even higher?
Saudi Arabia spends about $13.3 billion a year to subsidize gasoline and diesel prices, Abdullah Al Shehri, governor of the Electricity and Cogeneration Regulatory Authority, told the Gulf News.