Saudi Vision Balances Economics With Planned Social Reforms

Saudi Arabia is expanding its pipeline network to facilitate its planned downstream and gas sector expansions. But with major projects being constructed away from this infrastructure, it is clear that economics is not the key element driving them forward.

Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 envisages ending the kingdom’s “addiction to oil” through economic diversification. But this diversification requires the injection of substantial amounts of oil revenue in order to kick start it, ensuring the addiction continues.

More than that, with much of the “diversification” entailing boosting refining and petrochemicals output, the kingdom’s economy will remain wedded to oil and gas for the foreseable future. Factor in the additional electricity demand, and the extent to which Saudi Arabia will need to invest in expanding its internal oil and gas infrastructure becomes very evident.

But with Vision 2030 a hybrid of economic and social targets, some of the key projects that fall under its umbrella are clearly not driven by purely economic rationales – these often predate Vision 2030, but have been highlighted under the scheme. (CONTINUED - 1515 WORDS)