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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In this programme


Programme Team

Head of Europe in the World programme and Senior Fellow

Giovanni Grevi

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

Marco Giuli

Senior Policy Analysts

Paul Ivan
Amanda Paul

Junior Policy Analyst

Ivano di Carlo