EXCLUDING Saudi oil giant, ARAMCO, from the bourse may be difficult considering the value of the company in the market. The company possesses confirmed oil reserves of 266.6 billion barrels while over a trillion barrels of oil in its reserve is still unexplored.
We are talking about a giant whose real value of oil possession, investments and projects stand at around $50-60 trillion. This is the concrete proof that Saudi’s sovereign assets and wealth can weather the current storm no matter how serious, so it will always remain the trailblazer of development in the Arabian Gulf and Middle East.
This is not limited to the massive oil wealth, as Saudi Arabia possesses six percent of the global uranium reserve. In Makkah alone, about four million square meters of land remain uncultivated; in addition to North Jeddah where 100 virgin islands covering an area measuring 300 kms long and 200 kms wide are yet to be tapped.
This aspect of sovereign wealth is behind the assurance given by Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman that the country is capable of making $100 billion from non-oil revenues within the next five years. This is an unprecedented and professional use of untapped sovereign wealth. The country can definitely boast of numerous other assets that are yet to be undeclared with higher revenue – in multiple folds — to consolidate economic solvency and the undisputed ability in overcoming effects of dwindling oil revenues due to the oil price decline.
The Saudi economy has faced psychological war, either through the war in Yemen or crash in oil prices, but the architects of this war did not realize that the ashes of Saudi Arabia consist of strategic treasures capable of transforming the country into the largest producer of glass. Economic solvency will not take off from unstable oil revenues, as it will be from untapped sovereign assets and wealth. This means we are on the verge of seeing the surefire truth about the giant economy, among the world’s 20 largest economies.
Undoubtedly, taking out a part of ARAMCO’s value has opened a wide door for discussing the reality of what Saudi Arabia possesses in terms of sovereign assets within the context of fiscal solvency as guaranteed in the reports of international institutions. Saudi Arabia is a credit nation not weighed down by debt, while the average GDP is steadily growing. Above all, it initiated clear plans towards economic diversification to make oil one of the sources of revenue rather than the sole source.
In all the aforementioned points, it is clear that Saudi Arabia is economically solid; especially once it cooperates in exploiting the untapped wealth for growth and development, not for the benefit of the Kingdom alone but all the GCC countries. Saudi Arabia was and will forever remain as the trailblazer in regional development.
By Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times