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Saudi billionaire prince warns gov. over oil price drop

Al Waleed bin Talal warns oil minister about risk of falling prices

Saudi billionaire prince warns gov. over oil price drop


By Abdelmoneim Haikal

Saudi Prince Al Waleed bin Talal told his country’s oil minister that he should not play down the “major negative effects” on the Saudi economy from falling oil prices, according to a letter published on the Prince’s website late Monday.

“Our country is facing the risk of remaining almost entirely dependent on oil. Ninety percent of 2014's general budget is based on oil. Therefore, playing that down, is a catastrophe that we cannot remain silent about," he said in the open letter to the minister and the cabinet.

Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter, does not appear to be taking any action to deal with falling oil prices. In the past few years, the country has always considered a price level of $100 per barrel as good for both producers and consumers. However, oil prices have been sliding for the last few months and are now trading at less than $90 per barrel for benchmark Brent crude.

Saudi Arabia has increased its oil production by100,000 barrels per day in September, according to the last monthly report by OPEC.

Prince Al Waleed said that Saudi Arabia could lose up to $16.80 billion in the next few months to the end of this year. He added that the loss could total up to $51.10 billion in the next year alone.

The Saudi Prince, who is the nephew of Saudi King, said that the country could not continue to depend entirely on oil in its budget and should diversify income sources and put its renewable energy plans into action. 

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