Abu Dhabi Media Summit

Media mogul Rupert Murdoch (R) chats with Saudi billionaire Prince Al Waleed bin Talal and Mubadala Development Company CEO Khaldoon Al Mubarak (L)

Is the rapid increase in US oil and gas production from shale resources a threat to the oil-dependent Saudi Arabian economy? That depends on who within the kingdom you ask.

One school of thought proclaims global energy demand growth is expected to be sufficient to absorb all new supply sources, while another fears extensive incremental non-Opec production increases could steal market share from established large oil producers.

Billionaire Prince al-Waleed bin Talal – the King’s nephew and number 26 on Forbes’ billionaire list – seeks to convince Saudi leadership that US hydrocarbon production growth is a problem that must be dealt with.

“It is a pivot moment for any oil-producing country that has not diversified,” he said in an interview with the Globe & Mail. “Ninety-two per cent of Saudi Arabia’s annual budget comes from oil. Definitely it is a worry and a concern.”

“I will make them get it; there is no doubt about that. I’ll make them get it. It is matter of survival. There is no choice but to get it. I will keep pushing until they do.

“The majority of Saudi Arabians get it. We will mobilize the media; mobilize the people to put maximum pressure on the government to do things to rectify the problem.”

On the other hand, some Saudi Royals are less concerned. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Prince Abdulaziz Bin Salman Bin Abdulaziz reportedly said, “we need to make sure that the world economy comes out decisively on a growth pattern and, if that can be established, I think that the world economic growth will be sufficient to handle growth from all sorts – shale oil, shale gas, tight oil and including renewable.”