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Page added on June 25, 2011

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Kingdom Must Curb Its Energy Appetite


The Kingdom needs to curb its energy appetite and redouble its efforts to use alternative energy streams, a leading investment banker told oil-industry professionals in Alkhobar.

Gulf One Investment Bank founder and CEO Nahed M. Taher made the remarks to the Society of Petroleum Engineers and cautioned them about the consequences about Saudi Arabia’s current economic dependency on oil for half of its nominal gross domestic product.

“Oil production is like a sleeping pill, allowing the rest of the domestic economy to relax because the money is coming in,” she said, “but it is not doing any good for the private sector or for the creation of jobs.”

Taher warned that the inflow of cash from high oil prices does not mean more money but rather higher inflation, less purchasing power and more expensive imports into the Kingdom.

At the same time, with the fluctuation of oil market comes the fluctuation of the economy.

This, she said speaking on behalf of fellow bankers and economists, makes it impossible to invest in a long-term economic future.

In terms of energy consumption, the region is its own worst enemy, Taher said, voicing the concerns of Saudi Aramco President and CEO Khalid A. Al-Falih who recently stated that current oil consumption would lead to a 40 percent increase in global demand by 2030.

Taher blames low energy, fuel and electricity prices in the Kingdom for encouraging inefficient energy consumption.

“Saudi Arabia’s energy productivity lags behind major economies in the world in terms of GDP per consumption of energy,” she said.

“We need to be more efficient in utilizing our energy.”

She said the two major domestic consumers of oil are the power and desalination industries; however, globally both industries are shifting to alternative energy forms that are both bankable and environmentally friendly.

To increase economic stability, reel in more long-term GDP and encourage job creation, Taher emphasized the need to follow global trends in terms of energy efficiency and a greater investment in renewable energy.

She commended Saudi Aramco for advancing that thinking as it coordinates many of its operations with energy-saving methods; however, a significant step toward renewable energy has yet to take place in the region.

Taher said low domestic energy tariffs and a lack of environmental awareness contribute to the region’s lag.

She said the lack of financial incentives and collaborative efforts to handle environmental concerns coupled with the lack of specialization in needed fields also separate the region from prevailing global energy trends.

Taher pointed out investments in renewable energy have more than doubled last year alone as many energy-producing nations such as China and the European Union prove the growing success of these initiatives.

“If it is doable, why are we still burning heavy fuel to produce power? We have a lot of capabilities to produce renewable energy in this region,” she said.

Investment opportunities for alternative energy are also leading this trend. Ethical and environmental investment funds alone exceed $100 trillion, putting in money in any environmentally friendly, job creating and moneymaking business.

Analysis of these investments, Taher said, revealed 60 percent returns per year, as she encouraged the Kingdom to take part in this win-win opportunity to stabilize the Saudi economy.

Taher called for a collaborative effort to work toward these goals that will complement the Kingdom’s energy needs for the future.


4 Comments on "Kingdom Must Curb Its Energy Appetite"

  1. DC on Sat, 25th Jun 2011 11:22 pm 

    No kidding, Arabs have 3 things in great abundance


    Sand-The world market for sand is pretty well saturated so dont expect much chance to build an economy on that.

    Oil-Sure you got lots of oil(for now) but you heavily subsidize your own citizens, AND you subsidize the amerikan even more. No matter how much oil you have(or dont you guys lie a lot), I dont see any arabs pumping oil back INTO the ground.

    Sun-You guys got the sun, lots of it. That big ball of fire in the sky can make energy, lots of it. You got lots of land to help collect that sunlight. It could power all those energy desal plants you run on oil atm. Are you doing any of this? Nope. Got any plans to-Nope.

    The ME will be desolute place once they run out of oil, but at least, finally, the amerikans will leave them alone. Alone to there overpopulated, hot, energy starved fate.

  2. Makati1 on Sun, 26th Jun 2011 6:42 am 

    DC and what do you see as the fate for those Americans addicted to oil? Nore of the samer that the Middle East is experiencing? Maybe you haven’t noticed, but, those countries do know that they are going to run out of oil someday and ARE doing something about it. Of course, you have to go to news sources outside the US. Our government doesn’t want use to know that there will be ZERO oil exported from the OPEC countries in less than 10 years. Mexico is running dry. Canada has hit it’s limits for all kinds of oil, and the US, at best might be able to drill and pump as much as 3 years worth of new oil before we too are dry. Oil sands and shale oil are both reliant on huge energy supplies to process the oil they contain. That too will soon be a losing proposition…

  3. Makati1 on Sun, 26th Jun 2011 6:43 am 

    Ooops! Should edit my But you can get the idea…

  4. Harquebus on Mon, 27th Jun 2011 1:08 am 

    All we need to do now is find that “alternative energy”.

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