The news of a fire at the Abqaiq oil field early in 1977 was described as an industrial accident. Sabotage was ruled out immediately. However, it took four days to bring the fire under control, though the fact that Red Adair was not called in would tend to support the contention that it was not as serious as the Saudi Oil Ministry would like us to believe. But it cost Aramco millions of dollars, and the repercussions were felt as far away as the Tokyo stock exchange. It was also a reminder, if the Saudis needed one, of the vulnerability of the basis of their power. So in these final chapters it is necessary to weigh the problems of the country before the prospects. Some of the problems are obvious as the country rushes headlong towards the future, hardly pausing to establish any real contact with the present. In historical terms the moment of time between not having and having is less than 30 years. Looked at in reverse, Britain in 1945 still owned a large empire, had emerged from a gruelling war on the winning side, and was still one of the Big Four powers in the world. At that time Saudi Arabia was hardly known outside the Middle East.
KeywordsSaudi Arabia Middle East Guest Worker Proven Reserve Tokyo Stock Exchange
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