Saudi Arabia’s Lucid Dreams

David H. McGuire
4 min readJul 17, 2020

I was reading an article on the Economist this morning regarding the bleak outlook of the oil market and how it would transpire across the Middle East, whom for more than 70 years has boomed from the relationship the world has had with the combustion engine and the basins of fuel those engines have required. America’s Centcom policy throughout that period had been predictable and brought about stability to bring about consistent global flows. The last 10 years, however, had sent this balancing act into a myriad of conundrums. One of the catalysts of change was the Arab Spring, which spread across the region building vacuums and quasi fiefdoms in which ‘business as usual’ had to operate as a more complex supply chain network to keep global flows maintained. This had increased the price of oil as demand was outpacing supply and confidence in consistent flows.

During the hostilities in the Middle East, the rising price of oil and the technological innovations had allowed Fracking to flourish within America. Fracking companies were starting to pepper around the US and raise eyebrows among the Middle Eastern states. It was in the year 2014 that Saudi Arabia strategically aimed to choke frackers out of profit and they did so with success. The oil price had been priced below current market values, and many frackers had to turn off their machines. However, the issue with that particular strategy brought about a multitude of other comorbidities. The American government had stimulated R&D in reducing the cost of operating fracking as a hedge, and they also stimulated R&D in electric vehicles as a long-term play.

“vice chairman at GM who sneered at a young bushy-tailed Elon Musk”

At the time, circa 2010–2013 Electric cars were deemed as a fad. In fact, it was Bob Lutz former vice chairman at GM who sneered at a young bushy-tailed Elon Musk about electric cars. Lutz was pessimistic that electric cars could provide the performance and range that an ICE could — the Model S changed that. The Model S put all car manufacturers on notice, yet over in the Middle East, it seemed to not warrant the same alarm bells. The fad of electric cars would not pose a risk to a pedigree and intertwined history of combustion engines after all car manufacturers have been working with oil companies hand in glove for…

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