By Robert W. Lebling
The good news for Saudi Arabia is that its economy is booming. The bad news for us – and for the Saudis as well – is that the Kingdom is consuming more and more of its precious petroleum resources, and within a decade may have to begin cutting back on its oil exports to the rest of the world.
Chatham House, a leading international affairs think-tank based in Great Britain, has spent over a year studying energy use in Saudi Arabia and reports that:
- Energy consumption has been climbing since the early 1970s and shows no slowdown in response to dips in the oil price;
- Oil and gas continue to account for all of Saudi Arabia’s energy production, with oil continuing to dominate the energy mix; and
- Steady diversification into gas began in the early 1970s; but Oil’s share in the energy mix has nevertheless begun to rise again over the last six years.
Trends and Indications for Stabilizing Global Energy Markets
In a recent report entitled, “Burning to Keep Cool: The Hidden Energy Crisis in Saudi Arabia,” Chatham House researchers Glada Lahn and Prof. Paul Stevens said unchecked growth in energy consumption in Saudi Arabia was a “cause for international concern.” If it continues at its present rate, this would threaten the Kingdom’s ability to stabilize world oil markets.