Aramco to help Saudi shift from oil-based economy
Saudi Aramco will accelerate reforms across key economic sectors to help the Kingdom shift away from its oil-based economy, according to the company’s chairman, HE Khalid A Al-Falih
Saudi Aramco will accelerate reforms across key economic sectors to help the Kingdom shift away from its oil-based economy.
Commenting on Saudi Aramco’s support for Saudi Vision 2030, chairman HE Khalid A Al-Falih said that the national energy giant would deepen its role in the Kingdom’s National Transformation Plan.
Saudi Aramco will also facilitate the country’s efforts to increase levels of foreign investment through the privatisation of key industries and the facilitation of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), according to Al-Falih.
Reacting to the announcement of Saudi Vision 2030, the Saudi Aramco chairman said: “There needs to be a fundamental shift in our economic landscape if we are to reduce our unsustainable over-reliance on oil.
“Therefore, accelerating reforms across key economic sectors, privatisation of key industries, and the creation of a globally competitive [SME] sector are essential to delivering Saudi Vision 2030,” Al-Falih explained.
The National Transformation Plan, Saudi Vision 2030, has been approved by the cabinet. The strategy is designed to greatly reduce the Kingdom’s dependence on crude oil exports during the next five years.
Saudi Arabia’s Second Deputy Prime Minister, HRH Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud, stated his opinion that the Kingdom can reduce its dependence on crude oil exports significantly during the coming years. He said: “I think by 2020, if oil stops, we can survive. We need it [now], but I think in 2020, we can live without oil.”
Saudi Aramco’s Al-Falih agrees with Prince Salman’s assessment, stating that the country must diversify its economy and open up to overseas investors.
“The message is clear: Saudi Arabia is opening itself for further investment by those already in the Kingdom, as well as openly inviting potential future investors,” noted Al-Falih. “Investment and export opportunities exist for global companies who want to take advantage of Saudi Arabia’s ready access to infrastructure and abundant supply of energy.”
Al-Falih also emphasised that the shift away from Saudi Arabia’s oil-based economy would not compromise the country’s position as the “world’s most reliable supplier of energy”.
“We remain committed to maintaining the Kingdom’s position as the world’s top oil exporter and most reliable supplier of energy, while continuing to make strategic investments across the hydrocarbons value chain that will elevate the Kingdom as the global hub for energy,” he said.
“The [National Transformation Plan] demands innovation, technology, and R&D [research and development] to spur a new era of industrial growth.
“Saudi Aramco’s continued leadership and investments in upstream and new investments in downstream expansion will help drive the widespread and rapid in-Kingdom development of a vibrant population of [SMEs] focused on producing high-value finished and semi-finished products in the petrochemicals conversion sector,” Al-Falih concluded.