In This Review

The Oil Kingdom at 100: Petroleum Policymaking in Saudi Arabia
The Oil Kingdom at 100: Petroleum Policymaking in Saudi Arabia
By Nawaf E. Obaid
Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 2000, 136 pp.

A book for readers seeking a succinct statement on Saudi oil policy, its makers, and the institutional arrangements surrounding it. Well-chosen tables and graphs provide ready information on everything from production and proven reserves of major oil producers to changes in quality-of-life indicators (e.g., literacy and population per physician) in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states. Two short chapters on Saudi foreign policy treat Saudi relations not just with the United States and other major oil importers but with exporters as well. Obaid also assesses the Saudi policy of pumping more oil to force other producers out of the international market, rather than regulating production to ensure price stability. He marshals an informative and reasoned argument that Saudi Arabia actually has a sophisticated, well-organized oil industry and an appropriate oil diplomacy -- contrary to what many critics say.