Saudi Arabia is making it clear that its economic and security interests come first, no matter what the West thinks. Recently, Riyadh’s OPEC+ oil producers’ group coordinated with Russia on a shocking decision to reduce their production of crude, prompting an economic downturn and leaving the United States feeling helpless.
The move appeared unambiguously political as it followed a similar cutback decision made last fall, ignoring Washington’s pleas to pump more oil. Commentators in Saudi Arabia have applauded the country’s resilience, declaring that Riyadh’s judgment has been spot on in recent decisions.
This move lays another challenge for US President Joe Biden, who first stigmatized Saudi Arabia and the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the extrajudicial killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. Though the President reversed his policy to get more oil in the market, the price of crude necessarily slumped to a 15-month low in late March, forcing Bin Salman to pursue yet another oil policy.
This is because the Crown Prince needs funding for Saudi Arabia’s multi-billion-dollar plans to modernize the country and turn it into an economic superpower. Bin Salman has been making diplomatic overtures to former rival Iran and developing ties with Syria and other Arab states, even if the US or Europe do not approve. However, despite this independence, the kingdom still remains steadfastly in the American camp, relying on them for security.
This power move by Saudi Arabia shows its sway as a major fossil fuel producer. Aware of the temporary nature of its influence, the country must act quickly while it can.
The Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. (ADNOC) is a valuable part of the Middle East’s petroleum industry, ranking as the twelfth largest oil and gas producer in the world. It provides up to 6.7% of the world’s crude oil, and supplies other petrochemical products to major customers in sector. The CEO Sultan Al Jaber supervises the company’s operations, with a responsibility to ensure that the company leans into sustainability, clean technology, and public policy.
Jose Fernandez is the US undersecretary of state for economic growth and energy, and works on formulating policy against China’s “national champions”. Fernandez calls for stronger measures to level the playing field, as China’s favored companies get economic benefits from the government. He came to the Biden administration as an energy and economic expert, and uses his expertise to shape the US’s strategic economic policies.