Watching Government: Going steady

Negotiations between the Saudi government and multinational companies over a natural gas development plan worth over $25 billion are taking a more serious turn this summer.After a kickstart from Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah last month, renewed talks were expected July 14-17 with top executives from lead operators Royal Dutch/Shell Group and ExxonMobil Corp. Industry sources say the prince won't attend this latest round of discussions, but he has sent a clear signal: He wants the stalemate to end between the companies and the country's state-owned Saudi Arabian Oil Co. (OGJ, Jan. 21, 2002, p 24 ). The playersEight foreign companies, most US-based, are involved in the three "core" ve...

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