While the extent of the fracking-induced geopolitical tremors are still to be felt, the shaking up of the Middle East’s tyrannical oil policies is moving the regional tectonic plates as politics never could
Forget the Arab Spring. Islamists have already hijacked it. But, as if internally extinguishing the hope of democracy isn’t enough, dark clouds are now gathering to blot out the economic ‘sun’ for the oil-powered Middle East states, ushering in - courtesy of the West’s technological fracking ‘miracle’ - a new Arab winter.
The trouble is, as we know, the economies of many Arab states rely almost exclusively on massive oil revenues. Without them the leading lights of OPEC know it is only a question of time before the global export of US fracking technology reduces many Arab states to their familiar basket case economic status.
Saudi Arabia currently ranks as the world’s leading oil producer, but not for much longer. The Saudis are getting desperate. While the scale of its reserves may be hotly debated, the collapse of Saudi and OPEC oil power isn’t a matter of conjecture, it’s inevitable.
Realising the days of its oil-fuelled energy domination are numbered, the Saudis are busy exploring for shale gas resources (but lack the water necessary for the fracking production process). And grasping at other energy ‘straws’, the desert kingdom is even investing in expensive and dubious solar initiatives to offset the fast-rising, revenue-reducing domestic demand for the country’s oil.
The other regional producers will have to think like-wise. But what has pretty much sealed the energy fate of Saudi Arabia, as other OPEC members, is the global game-changer that the US shale revolution is proving to be.