The Changing Saudi Energy Outlook: Strategic Implications


For a long time the conventional wisdom in Middle Eastern Studies has been that oil and regional security constituted the basis of relations between the United States and Saudi Arabia. Riyadh would ensure adequate supplies at reasonable prices, and in return, Washington would guarantee the Kingdom’s security against regional threats. In recent years, the two nations’ energy landscapes have changed dramatically. The United States is projected to become less dependent on foreign energy sources, while Saudi Arabia has allocated substantial resources to diversify its energy mix, utilize alternative energy, and reduce consumption. This article examines the recent Saudi efforts to develop nuclear power and renewable resources; and also provides a preliminary assessment of potential strategic implications of these efforts for US-Saudi relations.