There is a similarity between Brunei and Singapore, and it is not associated with “small” country size that both are known for but the currency rate (1 Brunei Dollar = 1 Singapore Dollar). The capability of Brunei to be on par with one of the world’s most expensive city speak something highly of them. However, let’s not dive into the latter for now and focus on the reasons why Brunei is a wealthy state in South East Asia.
As the saying goes, oil is the black gold which fuel Brunei’s development since gaining independence from United Kingdom in 1984, given a small population size of less than 500,000.
Abundance of oil and gas
According to report in 2016, Brunei owns approximate 1,100,000,000 barrels of proven oil reserves and this ranks them 39th in the world, while contributing about 0.1% of the world reserves. Without considering the oil amount exported to other countries, it has roughly 188 years of oil remaining for their consumption. As the saying goes, oil is the black gold which fuel Brunei’s development since gaining independence from United Kingdom in 1984, given a small population size of less than 500,000.
While the trump card of black gold has propelled Brunei from the early days of independence, their current ruler – Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah has manage to diversify its country investment portfolio for greater robustness. Through Brunei Investment Agency (BIA), the kingdom has acquired real estate properties including the noteworthy Dorchester Collection that own numerous 5 star hotels in Europe and the United States.
Given a small population and seemingly unlimited oil & gas pockets to be used, many would be convinced that Brunei will remain wealthy and resilient for years to come. However, with the recent oil prices plummeted to a new low as the world battle Covid-19 pandemic, and greater emphasis placed on renewable energies to support climate change may just not be favorable to the oil-rich kingdom in the long run.