100 billion reasons to have non-reportable assets, by Simon Black

Just because you’re not a Saudi Arabian oil potentate, don’t think a government may not one day ask for a share of your assets. In which case, it makes some sense to have assets the government doesn’t know about. From Simon Black at sovereignman.com:

In early March 1938 in a dusty corner of the Arabian desert, Max Steineke finally had the breakthrough he was hoping for.

Steineke was the chief geologist for the California Arabian Standard Oil Company (CASOC), a venture owned by what we know today as Chevron.

And he hadn’t had a lot of success despite years of effort.

Steinke was convinced that massive oil reserves were beneath the sands. He just couldn’t find any.

His prized oil well, what was called Dammam #7, had been riddled with mishaps, accidents, and delays, and it was costing the company a LOT of money.

Steinke was about to be shut down when, finally, on March 4, the well started gushing. And Saudi Arabia was never the same.

Today oil constitutes more than half of Saudi Arabia’s GDP and more than 90% of government revenue… and it is the reason why Saudi Arabia is one of the world’s richest nations as measured by per-capita GDP.

But all that success also comes with risk: what happens when the wells run dry? Or when the oil price falls?

That’s what they’re dealing with now.

Saudi Arabia has been in and out of recession over the past few years due to the steep decline in oil prices. And the government is desperate to raise revenue.

Last year the Saudi government announced “Vision 2030,” a long-term plan to diversify its economy and reduce dependence on oil revenue.

The plan includes developments like a new beach resort on the Red Sea where women will be allowed to wear bikinis. This is pretty forward thinking, folks.

The government also announced that it will sell a portion of the national oil company, Saudi Aramco, through an IPO on a major stock exchange– a move they believe will generate $100 billion for the government.

But none of these options fixes the short-term problem. Saudi Arabia needs cash. Now.

So over the past few weeks they’ve found their source: theft.

To continue reading: 100 billion reasons to have non-reportable assets

 

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