Arab oil deal stalled again

A USD 25 billion gas deal between Saudi Arabia and western energy firms is reportedly facing yet more delays. The deal represents the first major foreign investment in the Saudi energy sector since it was nationalised in 1975. But the conditions of the agreement have been fought over since it was first agreed in June 2001. Saudi Arabia has reportedly put last-ditch concessions on the table in the hope of averting the collapse of year-long negotiations. But the western firms are now thought to be unable to meet an October deadline, saying they need more time to examine Saudi’s final offer. Unnamed sources and press speculation have repeatedly suggested that the deal is on the verge of failure. Saudi sources have suggested that the projects will be re-offered for fresh bids if there is no agreement with the parties now involved.

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