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Page 20 of 35

Read online @ B A K K E N O I L B I Z . C O M / d i g i t a l - j o u r n a l 21 Contact: Steven M. Sottung, LEED ® AP Vice President, Director of Business Development STV Energy Services, Inc. (610) 385-8262 / STV Energy Services, Inc. provides engineering, design, procurement, project management and construction management services to the natural gas, liquid petroleum, and pipeline transportation markets for projects from concept to completion. Strategically located in Denver and Bismarck, we deliver innovative solutions to meet our clients' needs. • Oil, gas and water processing and treatment facilities • Pipelines and gathering systems • Construction management • Commissioning/start-up • Storage and loading facilities • Control system programming & integration • Permitting – construction, air, natural resources • UL 508A-listed electrical and control panel fabrication shop • Metering/measurement services Efficiency Through Engineering & Design ➤ continued from pg 20 In economic terms, where does Saudi Arabia stand? Its Gross Domestic Product is about $1.7 trillion, less than a tenth of the US GDP of $18.6 trillion. However, on a per capita basis, Saudi Arabia comes in at about $54,000, just a little less than the US figure of $57,000. Due to the flood of oil money, Saudi Arabia has devel- oped into a generous welfare state. The official unem- ployment rate among Saudi nationals is over 11 per- cent. But that number only account for males. External sources put the unemployment rate at more than 25 percent. A hidden crisis. Meanwhile, for years there have been conflicts between Saudi Arabia and its neighbors. To the south--Yemen. Islamic terrorists, members of the Houthi tribe, have slipped into Saudi Arabia over the years. Their goal is to topple the Saudi monarchy. They are receiving assis- tance from Iran. To stop the illegal entry and the spread of unrest, Saudi Arabia has built a 1,100-mile fence along the border separating the two nations. Ironically, the construction company that erected the fence is the Saudi bin Laden Group, the same people who gave us Osama bin Laden. To the north--Iraq. The fanatical ISIS holds the territory just across the border between the two countries. To stop members of ISIS from entering the kingdom, the Saudis built another fence. An expensive 600-mile fence on the border with Iraq. Trump opponents should take notice. Another transnational issue is drug smuggling. Saudi Arabia regu- larly enforces the death penalty for drug traffickers. Foreigners are convicted and executed disproportionately. Thus, as the costs of safety and security have risen, low oil prices have reduced the kingdom's money supply. Where is it leading? The increasing success of US fracking com- bined with better fuel efficiency of everything that runs on oil and gas, and the spread of wind and solar power will limit Saudi Arabia's markets. The kingdom is further hampered by external efforts to overthrow its monarchy. Iran is aiming to topple the royal family and recreate the Persian Empire. It wants its presence to extend from Tehran, across Saudi Arabia all the way to the Mediterranean Sea. But the biggest impediment to Saudi Arabia's prosperity is the Is- lamic ideology itself. Its intolerance of virtually everything that de- fines the US will be its downfall. A major casualty is innovation. The absence of inventiveness due to the dominance of Islam will likely turn the kingdom into a much poorer state over the next few decades. ■ Chris Bischof is the Executive Editor of the Bakken Oil Business Journal. Previously he worked as a securities analyst and financial writer. He lives in New York City. Chris can be reached at

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