(Swedish in a separate blog)
What would happen when Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah died has been discussed for a number of years. Now, a week after his burial we can state that it is still calm in the nation and that the handover of power to Abdullah’s successor has not had a noticeable effect on the oil price. The founder of Saudi Arabia, King Abdul Aziz bin Al-Saud, is known to have had at least 22 wives but some say that the true number is over 40. However, he was only married to four wives at any one time. It has been said that he limited himself to two new wives in any one year. The list of sons and daughters varies but the recently deceased King Abdullah is said to have been his tenth son. Saudi Arabia’s new king is Salman bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud and is the 25th son of the first king. The new crown prince is Salman’s younger brother, the 69 year old Prince Muqrin. He is the 35th and youngest living son of the first king. Who will succeed him will be decided by a vote among all the grandchildren who are princes. The fact that the new king and the crown prince are quite old can mean that Saudi Arabia may need a successor to Muqrin fairly soon.
The fact that representatives of the world’s royal houses such as Sweden’s King Carl Gustaf, Spain’s King Felipe, Japan’s crown prince Naruhito and the Brittish crown prince Charles are among those dignitaries who travelled to Saudi Arabia to honour that nation’s deceased king shows that the world’s remaining monarchies feel a common bond. King Carl Gustaf was met at the airport by Prince Turki. This Turki is the son of Abdullah and not the Prince Turki who is the son of a former king, King Faisal (King Abdul Aziz’s third son), and who has visited Sweden numerous times. Prince Turki al Faisal and I discussed Peak Oil in 2005 at the Tällberg Forum and in June 2013 I had the pleasure of giving him a copy of my book, “Peeking at Peak Oil”, when we met again at the annual Forum.(Blog about the meeting.)
Many had hoped that the new king would change Saudi Arabia’s decision not to reduce its oil production now that the oil price has fallen. During one day the price rose by a few dollars but soon the price was down at the same low level as when King Abdullah died. When Obama was informed of Abdullah’s death he was in India and they quickly altered his schedule so that he would fly to Riyadh. The meeting of Obama with King Salman was very important since their two nations have been strategic partners for 70 years. The two leaders discussed the oil market and its current instability. The official statement released was that the USA did not expect any change in oil policy from the Saudi Arabian side. Regarding the oil price, apparently Obama and King Salman did not discuss that detail. What can happen in the future is that other actors in the oil market may become more influential and this may change Saudi Arabia’s oil policy.