October 22, 2018
With Saudi Arabia moving to quell international outrage over the brutal killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi by firing a handful of top intelligence officials and arresting more than a dozen Saudi nationals for alleged ties to the killing, Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih told Russia’s TASS news agency, in an attempt to reassure Russia and oil importers around the world that the kingdom’s threats to “weaponize” oil by cutting production and sending oil prices to $200 a barrel were little more than empty rhetoric, published by a “rogue” op-ed writer one imagines.
Khalid said during the interview that Saudi Arabia has “no intention” of triggering a replay of the 1973 oil embargo which rocked the American economy by sending oil prices 4x higher, creating the first of a handful of “oil shocks” that become emblematic of the economic malaise that persisted for much of the 1970s in the US.
“There is no intention,” Khalid al-Falih told Russia’s TASS news agency when asked if there could be a repetition of the 1973-style oil embargo.
Saudi Arabia has historically been reluctant to use its energy policy as a tool to meddle in international politics (the country only reluctantly went along with the OPEC embargo against the Western countries and Japan that backed Israel during the six-day war).
“This incident will pass. But Saudi Arabia is a very responsible country, for decades we used our oil policy as responsible economic tool and isolated it from politics,” Falih said.
Falih’s mandate from the Saudi government is to stabilize oil markets and “contribute to economic development”, something that would in all likelihood grind to a halt if the kingdom helped send oil prices to $200 a barrel. Though, notably, Falih said he couldn’t offer any guarantees about the price of oil.
“My role as the energy minister is to implement my…