Saudi Arabia faces increasing difficulty in extracting
oil as the kingdom's production capacity appears to have peaked after more
years of operations.
A leading oil expert told the Washington-based Center for Strategic and
Studies that Saudi oil fields have been operating from as early as 1940 and
that the last huge oil field was discovered in 1967. Matthew Simmons, an
energy investment banker and regarded as a key adviser of the Bush
administration, said the extraction of oil in Saudi Arabia will become
Simmons, in an assessment disputed by Saudi oil executives, said Saudi
Arabia could face a steady but slow decline in oil production, Middle East Newsline reported. He cited
Ghawar, the world's largest oil field, which was discovered in 1948, now the
world's largest oil field and which accounts for production of up to 60
percent of Saudi oil.
"The small number of great but old oil fields in Saudi Arabia that
created 'the miracle' are now facing challenges," Simmons said. "The easy
era is over."
"The entire world assumes Saudi Arabia can carry everyone's energy needs
on its back," Simmons said in his address on Tuesday. "But if this turns out
not to work, there is no Plan B. And if conventional wisdom is wrong, the
world faces a giant energy crisis."