Saudi Arabia to Lead $740 Billion Oil Spending Through 2017

Oil producers in the Middle East and North Africa plan to invest $740 billion on energy projects in the next five years, led by Saudi Arabia, according to Arab Petroleum Investments Corp.

High oil prices will allow them to resume projects that were delayed at the height of the financial crisis, the inter-governmental energy lender said.

Saudi Arabia tops the list with committed investments of $165 billion, mostly generated by Saudi Arabian Oil Co. and Saudi Basic Industries Corp., followed by the U.A.E. that plans to invest $107 billion in the period, the lender known as Apicorp said in an e-mailed report.

Algeria overtook Qatar and Iran as the third-biggest investor, with $71 billion of potential spending, largely the result of catch-up investment. Iran’s energy spending program has been put at $68 billion.

“Tighter international sanctions, and the retreat of foreign companies, have ended up taking a toll on Iran’s elusive energy investment program,” Apicorp said.

Countries in the region can finance projects on their own as long as the basket of OPEC crudes stays at more than $100 a barrel, the report said. That’s $10 higher than last year’s review. The OPEC crude basket was at $106.99 as of Oct. 4, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The review covers projects in the oil, gas, petrochemicals and power industries that are likely to see final investment decisions being taken. The bank selected the developments from more than 200 planned and announced public and private projects in the region estimating in size from from $100 million to $20 billion, it said.

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