With 261 billion barrels of crude oil lying beneath its soil, Saudi Arabia remains the lynchpin in the international oil grab presided over by the four horsemen; Shell, Chevron, British Petroleum, Exxon.
As of 1990 Aramco (Arabian American Oil Company) produced over 8 million barrels of crude oil a day, ensuring the Saudi role as "swing producer". During the 1991 Gulf War Aramco underwent another expansion and now cranks out an unprecedented 10 million barrels a day.
Aramco's primary construction contractor is Bechtel, a San Francisco-based private company that is the largest engineering firm in the world.
In 1981 the US and Saudi governments spearheaded an effort to create the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), consisting of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman and UAE. All except Oman are members of OPEC.
The elite families of the six GCC nations; Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman and UAE are heavily invested in Western economies.
High volume crude oil production keeps this investment capital flowing to Wall Street while allowing the GCC elites to live opulent lifestyles, in this way the volume of oil production is much more important than the price received for the oil for Western bankers and the GCC monarchs alike.