Saudi Arabia is amongst the world's largest crude oil producer alongside Russia and the United States. Saudi Arabia is considered a crude oil swing producer because it can increase or decrease its oil production output without significantly increasing production cost. Along with Venezuela, Saudi Arabia has one of the largest crude oil reserves worldwide.
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Qatar to are referred to as rentier states, which means most of their revenue comes from fossil fuels instead of taxation. This has led to distortion of those countries’ labor markets, as the workforce participation rate of their native populations is very low and the majority of their workforces consist of expatriates.
The volatility of the oil prices in recent years encouraged the governments of the GCC member states to accelerate the process of economic diversification in order to decrease their dependence on fossil fuel and increase their global competitiveness in the future.
The United Arab Emirates has thus far been the most successful GCC member state to shift its revenue away from dependence on fossil fuels, having established itself as a tourist destination and a financial hub for the Middle East.
Qatar has diversified from crude oil and as of 2017 is the largest natural gas exporter in the world.