Editor’s Note: Kathleen Sullivan is an analyst at Ergo, a global intelligence and advisory firm. The article below is based on a report Ergo recently published, entitled The Waning Era of Saudi Oil Dominance. Follow Ergo on Twitter.
By Kathleen Sullivan – Special to CNN
Saudi Arabia has thus far managed to stave off the popular protests that have led to the ouster of four Arab heads of state, chiefly due to its strategic and well-timed disbursements of oil-revenue-funded social giveaways. While so far effective in preserving the status quo, this approach has tied the fate of the monarchy to that of its oil revenues - an increasingly risky linkage.
For decades, Saudi Arabia’s booming oil revenues have been a safe bet in a constantly shifting region. Proud and longtime holder of the world’s largest proven reserves, highest exports, and most spare capacity, Saudi Arabia maintained an unrivaled position of dominance in global oil markets. However, a deeper look at Saudi Arabia’s growing domestic pressures and its external challenges reveal signs of decay in the Kingdom’s global oil market dominance, and with it, weakening defenses against a popular uprising. FULL POST