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Thursday, February 10, 2011     GET REAL

Cable: Saudis exaggerated crude oil reserves; Output seen peaking in 2012

LONDON — The United States has assessed that Saudi Arabia could be soon forced to significantly reduce crude oil production.


State Department cables warned that the Saudi kingdom might have exaggerated its crude oil reserves by nearly 40 percent. In cables released by WikiLeaks, the department was told that Riyad could not reach its goal of reaching a crude oil production capacity of 12.5 million barrels per day.

One of the cables, dated November 2007, quoted a former senior executive of Saudi Aramco as saying that the Arab kingdom would peak in oil production as early as 2012, Middle East Newsline reported.

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The Saudi, former head of exploration at Aramco, Sadad Al Husseini, warned American diplomats that the kingdom could not ensure oil price stability. Al Husseini said Aramco overstated its oil reserves by 300 billion barrels.

"According to Al Husseini, the crux of the issue is twofold," the 2007 cable said. "First, it is possible that Saudi reserves are not as bountiful as sometimes described, and the timeline for their production not as unrestrained as Aramco and energy optimists would like to portray."

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