Oil-rich Saudi prince sees fracking as a danger to his country

Elizabeth Dorton Contributor
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Prince Alwaleed bin Talal says the Gulf Arab Kingdom needs to reduce its reliance on crude oil, because fracking technology under development in other nations will result in less dependency on obtaining energy resources in his homeland.

Global demand for Saudi oil will experience further decline as the U.S. and other nations, including Great Britain and Canada, begin to find their own oil elsewhere.

Bin Talal, who is worth the U.S. equivalent of $20 billion, published an open letter to his government on Twitter, aimed to get the attention of his country’s oil minister, Ali al Naimi, Sky News reports.

He wrote the letter out of concern that the demand for oil from the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is “in continuous decline,” and referred to the dangerous nature of Saudi Arabia’s dependence on the exportation of oil.

He also cited financial statistics, showing how much dependence his kingdom has on the oil industry.

“Our country is facing a threat with the continuation of its near-complete reliance on oil, especially as 92 percent of the budget for this year depends on oil,” he said.

Dan Kish, the vice president of the Institute for Energy Research, cited the prince’s reason for this fear as an economic concern, as well as the power of manipulation that “less reliable” countries exert over other nations when they have a monopoly on certain products.

“If we looked at energy as a weak spot, as a potential threat to national security and a reliance on others, this changes that,” he told The Daily Caller. “Many people find it liberating in a lot of ways.”

The technologies of fracking and horizontal drilling, which the U.S. and Canada did not have access to a few years ago, are allowing them to find energy at home, saving money, and keeping them more independent.

Kish also says there is a link between energy consumption and economic success, citing historical examples to explain national economic booms which occurred among countries consuming the highest amounts of energy, while also stressing that the costs of fracking are going down.

“Shale energy has been a game changer for economic growth,” Stephanie Catarino Wissman, executive director of the Associated Petroleum Industries of Pennsylvania, told TheDC. “Hydraulic fracturing provided $62 billion in additional government revenue in 2012 and will provide more than $111 billion in 2020. 1.7 million jobs are currently supported by unconventional oil and natural gas activity, and that number grows to some 2.5 million jobs in 2015, 3 million jobs in 2020, and 3.5 million jobs in 2035.”

If the U.S. continues with these practices, we may never need to obtain oil from the Middle East again, she said, adding, “With the right policies in place, America could meet 100 percent of its liquid fuel needs through safe, reliable North American sources by 2024.”

Kish stated that whenever a nation is dependent on another for an energy source, they are somewhat under the heel of that nation — something that plays a significant role in their economy.

On finding an energy source at home, Kish said, “That’s independence, that’s liberty.”

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