This Masarat briefing seeks to determine whether the “shale revolution,” which has been unlocking vast new oil reserves in the United States, has prompted a reassessment of long-standing U.S. policies designed to ensure access to oil supplies as well as relationships with key Gulf producers—including Saudi Arabia. While the United States continues to source a significant portion of energy imports from the Gulf (and remains reliant on global energy markets), some U.S. policy makers no longer seem to view ensuring Gulf oil production as a vital, nonnegotiable security interest; it is an important interest among many, to be sure, but no longer one that automatically overrides other policy pursuits. Thus, while energy security remains an important element in the U.S.-Saudi relationship, U.S. policy no longer seems constrained by fears that Saudi Arabia might unleash the “oil weapon” in pursuit of the Kingdom’s own policy aims.
King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies
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