Living the Saudi Dream

Saudi Arabia wants it all: to salvage OPEC, achieve income diversification and industrialization, and preserve its market share in crude oil, petroleum products, petrochemicals, and natural gas liquids. Whether the Saudis succeed will be determined largely by the shale-energy industry in the US.

IRVING, TEXAS – Saudi Arabia wants it all: to salvage OPEC, achieve income diversification and industrialization, and preserve its market share in crude oil, petroleum products, petrochemicals, and natural gas liquids (NGLs). Whether the Saudis succeed will be determined largely by the shale-energy industry in the United States.

The US shale revolution divided OPEC according to the quality of its members' crude oil. Exporters of light sweet crude – such as Algeria, Angola, and Nigeria – lost nearly all of their market share in the US, while exporters of sour or heavier crude, including Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, have lost little.

Because almost all crude oil produced by the Gulf States is sour, and most of the global surplus is sweet, any production cut by Saudi Arabia and its neighbors would not drive prices back up and rebalance the oil market. The only way to do that – and prevent an OPEC breakup – would be to reduce the production of light sweet crude, including by US producers, which would thus lose market share. If this occurred, oil prices could be expected to rise again relatively quickly.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

Registration is quick and easy and requires only your email address. If you already have an account with us, please log in. Or subscribe now for unlimited access.

required

Log in

http://prosyn.org/jtRTD0i;
  1. China corruption Isaac Lawrence/Getty Images

    The Next Battle in China’s War on Corruption

    • Chinese President Xi Jinping knows well the threat that corruption poses to the authority of the Communist Party of China and the state it controls. 
    • But moving beyond Xi's anti-corruption purge to build robust and lasting anti-graft institutions will not be easy, owing to enduring opportunities for bureaucratic capture.
  2. Italy unemployed demonstration SalvatoreEsposito/Barcroftimages / Barcroft Media via Getty Images

    Putting Europe’s Long-Term Unemployed Back to Work

    Across the European Union, millions of people who are willing and able to work have been unemployed for a year or longer, at great cost to social cohesion and political stability. If the EU is serious about stopping the rise of populism, it will need to do more to ensure that labor markets are working for everyone.

  3. Latin America market Federico Parra/Getty Images

    A Belt and Road for the Americas?

    In a time of global uncertainty, a vision of “made in the Americas” prosperity provides a unifying agenda for the continent. If implemented, the US could reassert its historical leadership among a group of countries that share its fundamental values, as well as an interest in inclusive economic growth and rising living standards.

  4. Startup office Mladlen Antonov/Getty Images

    How Best to Promote Research and Development

    Clearly, there is something appealing about a start-up-based innovation strategy: it feels democratic, accessible, and so California. But it is definitely not the only way to boost research and development, or even the main way, and it is certainly not the way most major innovations in the US came about during the twentieth century.

  5. Trump Trade speech Bill Pugliano/Getty Images .

    Preparing for the Trump Trade Wars

    In the first 11 months of his presidency, Donald Trump has failed to back up his words – or tweets – with action on a variety of fronts. But the rest of the world's governments, and particularly those in Asia and Europe, would be mistaken to assume that he won't follow through on his promised "America First" trade agenda.