By far, the most important news to the global energy markets this week were the arrests in Saudi Arabia.
Others in the media will talk of this in political terms, but I could care less about Saudi Arabian politics. I only care about how it’s going to affect oil prices and our oil stocks. And it’s going to be great for both.
Mohammed bin Salman (now referred to by the quick sobriquet MbS), is the 32-year old son of the 81-year old (relatively) new Saudi king. The centerpiece of the new father and son team is Vision 2030, a re-imagining of Saudi Arabia in the 21st century. Besides less restrictive religious influence, the plan envisions educational opportunities and job mobility for the young. The one key component to financing all of this, and modernizing Saudi Arabia in economic as well as social terms is a necessary decoupling from oil. Oil represents the old political structure and the old religious and social structure. Saudi Arabia will always rely upon oil revenues, but must find other economic pillars to complement oil in order to have any hope of modernizing.
The old order in Saudi Arabia is represented by the few dozen insanely wealthy oil sheikhs that the young MbS put under arrest last weekend. To the youth of Saudi Arabia, young MbS is a rock star, taking full control of the state while destroying any remaining resistance to full implementation of Vision 2030.
Consolidation of power is all about insuring the success of Vision…