RIYADH, (AFP) – Saudi Arabia fully plans to meet the growing demand for oil driven by China and India, a senior prince and former national intelligence chief said on Tuesday.
“As the demand for oil continues to rise, especially from China and India, the kingdom has every intention of meeting that demand,” Prince Turki al-Faisal said in a speech to the Oxford Energy Seminar in Britain.
Saudi Arabia, which holds the world’s largest proven oil reserves, is pushing to diversify its own energy production and consumption away from oil in part to ensure it has enough to supply the global oil thirst, Prince Turki said.
“One of the most important things the kingdom will be doing to make sure it can meet that demand will also help meet a different demand rising more strongly every day. I am speaking of the development of alternative energy sources,” he said in the speech, the text of which was emailed to AFP.
He foresaw the possibility of Saudi Arabia exporting natural gas, solar-powered and wind-powered energy to the world one day as well as crude oil.
“Saudi Arabia wants to sell energy, and it very much understands that there are two kinds of businesses in this world — those that sell things people want, and those that don’t. Saudi Arabia wants to sell what people want,” he said.
Prince Turki, who heads Riyadh’s King Faisal Centre for Research and Islamic Studies, also dismissed recent claims by Hugo Chavez who said Venezuela might have more than Saudi Arabia’s proven reserves of 264 billion barrels of oil.
“We have recently heard mention from other countries of having oil in the ground that exceeds what can be found in Saudi Arabia,” he said.
“However, these claims are entirely about unproven reserves, so they are completely hypothetical and, in my opinion, entirely unfounded.
“Were Saudi Arabia to go down the path of claiming unproven reserves, there would still be no competition,” he added, saying the desert kingdom might have over 700 billion barrels underground.
“Leave it at this: No other country can claim anywhere near the quantity of proven or unproven oil reserves as Saudi Arabia.”