Search GSSD

Slow, slow, quick, quick, slow:: Saudi Arabia's ‘Gas Initiative’

"This article sets out to analyse the Saudi gas initiative in the context of the decision-making process in Saudi Arabia between 1998 and 2002. It describes the overall context in which the initiative was made. It focuses on the personalities and institutions that were important in its birth and its evolution. The article argues that a mixture of personalities (especially that of Crown Prince Abdullah and foreign minister Saud al-Faisal) and institutions (especially a clutch of new bodies formed in 1999 and 2000) were pivotal in the emergence of the initiative. It also looks at the obstacles that were placed in the way of the initiative, arguing that Saudi Aramco and the minister of oil, Ali Naimi, were key blocking players. Over time, the Saudi gas initiative has come to be seen as a benchmark of the wider cause of economic liberalization in the Kingdom. The lack of progress in the initiative since the initial indicative contract awards in June 2001 has reflected the lack of movement in the general reformist strategy."
Philip Robins
University of Oxford, The Middle East Centre, St Antony's College, Oxford OX2 6JF, UK
Industry Focus: 
Saudi Arabia
Bibliographies & Reports