Europe in the World

Iranian-Saudi tensions: the energy dimension

9 February 2016
David Ramin Jalilvand (Researcher in the Middle East and North Africa Department, Friedrich Ebert Foundation, Berlin)


Following the execution of Saudi Shiite cleric Nimr Baqer al-Nimr, the deep rooted rivalry between Iran and Saudi Arabia entered a new phase in January 2016. While the main objective for both countries still is regional hegemony, the Iranian-Saudi competition takes many different forms and shapes, and also extends into the field of energy. In this Policy Brief, David Ramin Jalilvand gives a detailed analysis of the energy-related aspects of the Iran-Saudi Arabia rivalry and its possible consequences for Europe’s energy market; both countries hold giant hydrocarbon reserves, so European energy will probably be affected by their competition in several regards; increased oil supplies will be available for the European market, while the cycle of low oil prices will be prolonged. According to Jalilvand, this is a mixed blessing; Europe’s energy import bill will be reduced, but its indigenous production will suffer, while Russia’s role in European natural gas will only continue to grow.

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Head of Europe in the World programme and Senior Fellow

Giovanni Grevi
g.grevi@epc.eu

Researcher in EU energy and climate policy, Institute of European Studies, Free University of Brussels

Marco Giuli
marco.giuli@vub.be

Senior Policy Analysts

Paul Ivan
p.ivan@epc.eu
Amanda Paul
a.paul@epc.eu

Junior Policy Analyst

Ivano di Carlo
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