Neil Barnett, in a new blog for the Centre for Policy Studies, suggests that Saudi Arabia is just as interested in undermining the Russian economy as it is in deterring future investment of shale in the US.
Russia’s continuing support for Iran and the Assad regime in Syria brings it into direct conflict with Saudi interests: hence, argues Barnett, Saudi has increased production, the oil price is today around $60 a barrel and the Russian economy is in danger of imminent collapse. The lower oil price therefore serves a far wider Saudi interest than purely the deterrence of further investment in US shale.
Neil Barnett comments:
“Saudi policy can best be described as a rope with several strands. Since Saudi has modest military power (not to be confused with vast military spending), its influence on oil prices is its best means of shaping the world. At this point, low prices serve Saudi strategic interests in many ways: