The Saudi mining industry starts 2020 with a slimmer regulatory agency, new management, and prospects that appear more favorable than many other Vision 2030 programs.
Colby Connelly is a research associate at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington. He is an MA candidate in global security studies at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Advanced Governmental Studies, where he is pursuing a concentration in energy and environmental security. He has also served as a contributor for IHS Markit’s country risk, focusing on Gulf Cooperation Council member states.
Previously, he spent several years working as a contractor in Saudi Arabia in support of workforce nationalization projects established as part of the government’s Saudization initiative. He designed, managed, and supported multiple training programs tailored for new employees of energy and critical infrastructure companies including Saudi Aramco, the Saudi Electricity Company, Sadara, Marafiq, and Petro Rabigh. He has also lived in Jordan on separate occasions, where he studied with the Qasid Arabic Institute. He graduated from James Madison University in 2011 with a BA in international affairs, concentrated in the Middle East, and is proficient in Gulf and Modern Standard Arabic.
Oman has had notable success with its Khazzan gas field, but the sultanate will need to manage its domestic gas consumption and sign favorable long-term supply contracts to continue to benefit from LNG exports.
Countries that export larger quantities of low-sulfur crude oil will be the foremost beneficiaries of the demand brought on by IMO 2020, but the new regulations will not be a boon for everyone in the region.
The model of the low-cost carrier has penetrated the Gulf region, and for the state-owned airlines Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar Airways, maintaining their positions as industry leaders will be contingent on the ability to cut costs where the competition cannot.
Saudi Aramco's and the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company’s overseas investment initiatives could serve to lay the framework for a Saudi-Emirati energy partnership that accelerates each company’s ambition of challenging global oil and gas majors.