Gulf billionaire warns of shale threat to Saudi

Michael Bow
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BILLIONAIRE Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal has warned Saudi Arabia that the US shale gas boom could destroy the gulf state’s oil-based economy.

Prince Alwaleed, the 20th richest man on Earth, has written to the Saudi oil minister urging the kingdom to explore more renewable energy policies in the face of declining demand for oil.

“We disagree with your excellency on what you said and we see that raising north American shale gas production is an inevitable threat,” Prince Alwaleed said. “The world’s and the west’s dependence on oil is in continuous decline and this reality is known by everyone.”

It follows bullish comments from the minister dismissing concerns about rising shale production.

Shale gas is expected to drive up US oil production by 560,000 barrels per day (bpd) next year while the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) has forecast demand for its oil would fall by 250,000 bpd.

Prince Alwaleed added that Saudi plans to increase production to 15m bpd from 12.5bpd would be frustrated by the boom. The UK is hoping to emulate the US shale boom after vast deposits were found around the north west.