Oil market upheaval looms over Saudi succession

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An oil well near Tioga, North Dakota pictured on August 21, 2013King Abdullah’s death could not have come at a worse time for Saudi Arabia’s vital oil sector as the absolute monarchy seeks to reassert its leadership in a fast-changing industry. After an exceptional decade that saw it build up production capacity and huge financial reserves, Saudi Arabia is facing a major challenge from new market players — in particular North American shale oil producers. The Gulf powerhouse now finds itself locked in a battle for market share against unconventional producers. “Saudi Arabia will compete very strongly to preserve its leadership in the oil markets,” said Jean-Francois Seznec, a professor at Georgetown University and an expert on Gulf oil.

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