oil AFP/Getty Images

Na goedkope olie komt zonneschijn voor de Golf

BEIROET – In juni 2014 kostte een vat ruwe Brent-olie – het belangrijkste referentiepunt van de internationale oliemarkt – 115 dollar. Nu, minder dan twee jaar later, is de prijs 45 dollar of zelfs minder. Het mag geen verrassing heten dat deze ineenstorting van de prijzen een grote schok is geweest voor Saoedi-Arabië en oliesjeikdommen in de Perzische Golf, die voor 85% van hun inkomsten van olie afhankelijk zijn. En ze moeten zich realiseren dat deze in tegenstelling tot prijsdalingen uit het verleden niet tijdelijk is.

Dit ‘nieuwe normaal’ voor olie weerspiegelt een nieuwe realiteit: de economische groei van China – en daarmee de vraag naar olie – valt lager uit; de energie-efficiency van de wereld stijgt, niet in het minst vanwege het engagement afgelopen december vastgelegd op de klimaattop in Parijs; en ontwrichtende innovatie maakt schalieolie en -gas, samen met hernieuwbare energiebronnen, veel concurrerender. Met de terugkeer van Iran, Libië en Irak als grote olie-exporteurs zullen de lage olieprijzen met zekerheid zowel onvermijdelijk als blijvend zijn.

Saoedi-Arabië en de andere golfstaten moeten deze crisis benutten. Ze hebben nu een perfecte mogelijkheid om eindelijk grootschalige economische hervormingen door te voeren.

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