Peak oil, surprise, surprise
If Citigroup [well, er*] is right, Saudi Arabia will cease to be an oil exporter by 2030, far sooner than previously thought.
A 150-page report by Heidy Rehman on the Saudi petrochemical industry should be sober reading for those who think that shale oil and gas have solved our global energy crunch.
I don't wish to knock shale. It is a Godsend and should be encouraged with utmost vigour and dispatch in Britain. But it is for now plugging holes in global supply rather than covering the future shortfall as the industrial revolutions of Asia mature.
The basic point – common to other Gulf oil producers – is that Saudi local consumption is rocketing. Residential use makes up 50pc of demand, and over two thirds of that is air-conditioning.
The Saudis also consume 250 litres per head per day of water – the world's third highest (which blows the mind), growing at 9pc a year – and most of this is provided from energy-guzzling desalination plants.
All this is made far worse across the Gulf by fuel subsidies to placate restive populations.
The Saudis already consume a quarter of their 11.1m barrels a day of crude output. They are using more per capita than the US even though their industrial base as a share of GDP is much smaller.
The country already consumes all its gas. (Neighbouring Kuwait is now importing LNG gas from Russia:
I guess the hydrocarbons are theirs, so it's theirs to piss them away even more stupidly and profligately than we have. No different, I suppose, water in Las Vegas, in its desert....
NOTE * There's no possibility that they're doing anything other than some kind of scam, probably fraudulent. But that doesn't mean the report itself is necessarily untrue. That would depend on its place in the architecture of the scam.