The global chessboard - 18 February 2014

I hadn’t thought about this…

Today’s business paper in the Cape Times: What happens if cheap shale gas pries the Middle East’s grasp off the throat of global energy? Energy independence for big energy - importing countries (like the US), or regions (Europe), could shift the geopolitical chessboard out of check-mate.

The Saudis are getting a little nervous, argues retired communications fellow Keith Bryer in the Cape Times’ Business Report. Saudi Arabia and Kuwait get so much revenue from oil that they can pretty much support their population on a welfare system. Who needs to work when you get free healthcare and education, interest-free home loans, cheap-as-dirt land prices or a 50/50 chance of getting a job with the state (also a form of social welfare, argues Bryer).

So while Saudi princes are muttering anxiously about survival in a post-oil-dependency, other countries are probably delighted to wriggle free from OPEC’s tight grip.