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New Alignments? The Geopolitics of Gas and Oil Cartels and the Changing Middle East
Author(s): Songying Fang, Amy Myers Jaffe and Ted Loch-Temzelides

Economics of Energy & Environmental Policy
Volume 3, Number 1

Abstract: The ongoing democratic movements and civil wars in the Middle East have challenged the stability of regimes across the region. On the other hand, the commercial exploitation of large reserves of unconventional oil and gas in the United States is poised to significantly change the current equilibrium in energy markets. What are the implications of these developments on Saudi Arabia's energy policy? Will the long-standing U.S.-Saudi alliance remain the cornerstone of the kingdom's relationship with the outside world? We study these questions using a game-theoretic approach. Specifically, we investigate whether the new political and economic trends may warm the Saudi regime to a workable energy cartel with Russia. We analyze the outcomes from different coalitions that could form among major energy suppliers and show that this is indeed a possibility. We discuss the implications of our results for U.S. policy toward Saudi Arabia.

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Keywords: Geopolitics, Gas and oil cartels, Middle East

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