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Pepe Escobar says Sit back, relax, and enjoy the oil thriller

Friday, April 29, 2016 11:58
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Sit back, relax, and enjoy the oil thriller | The Vineyard of the Saker

by Pepe Escobar for RT
The famous Hollywood adage – ‘nobody knows anything’ – seems to perfectly apply to the current turbulence in the oil market. So in an effort to clarify where the global oil economy is heading to, let’s engage in a Battle of the Oil Analysts. ……………..

……………….And now comes what could be a potential game-changer: the House of Saud’s “vision” for a post-oil economy.

These are the basics, as announced by Warrior Prince Mohammed bin Salman, 30, the conductor of the – illegal – war on Yemen that is overflowing with “collateral damage”. Saudi Arabia’s power stems from its possession of Mecca and Medina, and geostrategic “Arab and Muslim depth”; it’s central to global trade, with 30 percent passing through the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf; and the future lies in the creation of a $2 trillion sovereign wealth fund, coming from the sale of 5 percent of shares in Aramco, the number one oil company on the planet.

Riyadh, we got a problem. Assuming that Aramco’s partial IPO will yield that astonishing $2 trillion, and these funds are invested all across the West, Saudi Arabia could collect around $100 billion a year. Not much; in fact, only 1/6 of Saudi Arabia’s GDP in 2015 ($653 billion, of which 70 percent come from oil exports). In a nutshell: this plan will not deliver Saudi Arabia a viable post-oil economy.

As if this was not enough, the oil hacienda is currently invested in two expensive wars – in Yemen (directly) and Syria (indirectly). Crucial: the Warrior Prince de facto conducts both. Moreover, the House of Saud will continue to buy spectacularly costly weapons from the usual suspects – the US, UK and France – like there’s no tomorrow.

Back to our OAs. OA8 says that the Saudis under the Warrior Prince made a major mistake: “They have now antagonized the Russians and the Americans. Brennan wants their blood no matter what he says as he thinks of them as terrorists. Also, he believes that they have nuclear tipped missiles from Pakistan. The US cannot reconcile themselves to this.”

Moscow, on the other hand, wants friendly relations with Riyadh, but there’s a perception Russia was betrayed at Doha (cutting oil production was a done deal until the Warrior Prince scuttled it on the very day of the signing.)

Which brings us to OA9: “The self-inflicted wound of cutting the oil price by the Saudis for market share is foolish. The time now is to conserve oil and refrain from selling it, awaiting the tripling of the Chinese economy with the Belt and Road plan. Demand in five or ten years would be massive and oil will be then near $200 a barrel.”

So, in the end, our oil thriller will be all about China; Beijing will need to buy all the energy it needs to pursue the completion of the New Silk Roads. Meanwhile, the House of Saud faces a stark choice. Its “post-oil economy” plan will fail, as others before failed. The Warrior Prince must decide which of the superpowers to ally with. If he thinks he can pull it off all by himself, there’s a cab driver gig waiting for him in London. If he can make it to Heathrow in one piece.


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