Saudi puts money on tech as it prepares for life after oil The world’s biggest crude exporter is attempting to future-proof itself against oil’s decline by investing in futuristic technologies.
Saudi Arabia has accumulated a stake in electric carmaker Tesla for about $2 billion through its Public Investment Fund and aims to be part of any investor pool that emerges to take the company private.
That’s on top of a $3.5 billion investment in ride-sharing company Uber Technologies, a $45 billion commitment to SoftBank Group’s $100 billion technology fund and a planned investment of about $1 billion in Virgin Group’s space companies.
Neom, a planned $500 billion futuristic city that it’s hoped will host more robots than people on a desolate peninsula in the kingdom’s northwest is also part of the plan.
The metropolis will have a link “with artificial intelligence, with the internet of things — everything,” Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said in October, when Neom was announced.
The project includes a bridge spanning the Red Sea, connecting the proposed city to Egypt and the rest of Africa.
While the International Energy Agency sees oil demand rising more than 10 percent to 103.5 million barrels a day by 2040, advances in vehicle efficiency, the rise of electric cars, tighter emissions standards and shifts to other fuel sources would result in crude demand much lower than the industry is banking on. Saudi puts money on tech as it prepares for life after oil (Arif Sharif, Bloomberg, The Jakarta Post)