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Saudi oil reserves 'overstated'

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Uploaded on Feb 9, 2011

The United States fears Saudi Arabia may not have enough oil reserves to prevent world prices rising sharply, according to cables from its embassy in Riyadh.

The cables, obtained by WikiLeaks, urge Washington to take heed of a warning from a former Saudi government oil executive that the kingdom's crude oil reserves may have been overstated by as much as 40 per cent.

US diplomats reported that Sadad al Husseini, the ex-head of exploration at Saudi oil monopoly Aramco, "disagreed" with Aramco's analysis that it had reserves of 716bn barrels and that would rise to 900bn barrels in 20 years.

The claims about the world's largest crude oil exporter, published in The Guardian newspaper on Wednesday, come as the price of oil has soared in recent weeks to more than $100 a barrel amid tensions in the Middle East and global demand.

Al Jazeera's Imran Khan reports.

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