Saudi Arabia will have $2 trillion to figure out an economy after oil


Bentley Continental GT races a train across Saudi Arabia

Bentley Continental GT races a train across Saudi Arabia

Oil-rich Saudi Arabia could find itself in a vulnerable position if world economies shift away from fossil fuels for transportation over the coming decades.

The Middle Eastern kingdom is now preparing for that eventually, socking away money for a post-oil economy.

The government is creating a Public Investment Fund that will eventually control $2 trillion in assets.

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This megafund will help Saudi Arabia transition from dependence on oil over the next two decades, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman explained during a five-hour conversation with Bloomberg.

Much of the cash for the Public Investment Fund will come from an initial public offering (IPO) in Aramco, the Saudi national oil company.

Also known as the Saudi Arabian Oil Company, Aramco was founded by American interests as the Arabian-American Oil Company, but has been controlled by the Saudi government since 1980.

Infiniti at Al Reem circuit, Saudi Arabia

Infiniti at Al Reem circuit, Saudi Arabia

The IPO could happen as early as next year, with the government planning to sell less than 5 percent of Aramco.

Remaining Aramco shares would also be transferred to the Public Investment Fund, essentially making investments the main source of Saudi revenue, the prince said.

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The government would then diversify, adding other investments alongside its controlling interest in the oil company.

The planned $2 trillion fund would reportedly have enough cash to buy Apple, Alphabet (nee Google), Microsoft, and Berkshire Hathaway together—currently the world's four largest publicly-traded companies.

Bentley Continental GT races a train across Saudi Arabia

Bentley Continental GT races a train across Saudi Arabia

In addition to the investment scheme, the Saudi government hopes to boost its own revenue through added fees and taxes, and to cut budget deficits.

The government also revealed plans to diversify domestic industries in a carbon-reduction plan released ahead of the Paris climate-change talks late last year.

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At the time, it proposed funneling revenue from oil and gas into other businesses, such as financial services, medical services, education, and tourism—as well as renewable energy.

Alternatively, it could use cheap oil and gas as the foundation for ventures like cement production and mining.

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