Arab states warned to end economic dependency on oil

Friday, December 17, 2004

DUBAI Libyan Prime Minister Shukri Ghanem told the Arab Strategic Forum on Tuesday that Arab states who fail to end their dependency on the oil sector face disaster. Ghanem envisioned a near-term reduction in Middle East oil resources.

"If the oil wealth disappears, many oil-producing countries will face catastrophe," Ghanem said. "The challenge we face today is that oil has become a problem for us. We can not think beyond oil. It is going to run out in the near future."

Ghanem, who urged greater investment in development, said Arab states have become vulnerable to the turbulent global oil market. At the same time, the prime minister predicted higher oil prices, Middle East Newsline reported.

"Research reports suggest that oil consumption will exceed the level of oil production, putting pressure on future oil prices," Ghanem said. "As a result, OPEC's role in determining the oil price will increase."

Qatari Energy Minister Abdullah Bin Hamad Al Attiyah said Gulf Cooperation Council states failed to obtain record high oil prices of $55 a barrel posted a month ago. Al Attiyah said GCC states have not received more than $45 for a barrel of oil.

Copyright 2004 East West Services, Inc.

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