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Oil, Entitlement, & How MBS is Changing Saudi Arabia | GZERO World

Oil, entitlement, & how MBS is changing Saudi Arabia

What is Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman really doing to modernize Saudi Arabia? On GZERO World, Ian Bremmer asks Princeton University's Bernard Hayel.

MBS, as he's known in the West, is "basically banking on the bulk of the population that's under 30, [who think] he's a rock star because of the things he's doing."

Meanwhile, "anyone over 40 hates him because he's taking away entitlements" and changing the modus operandi of the country.

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Paige Fusco

The Graphic Truth: Thirsty for Russian energy

Much of the world has long relied on Russian energy to power their economies. That makes it very hard for them to punish the Kremlin for invading Ukraine by ditching Russia's plentiful oil, natural gas, and coal in the near term. So, who's most dependent on Russian fossil fuels? We look at a select group of OECD economies.

A Japanese tanker anchored near an LNG plant on Russia's Sakhalin Island.

REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

Japan’s red line on Russia

Since Russia invaded Ukraine in February, a lot of attention has focused on if, when, and how Europe might wean itself off of Russian energy flows to cripple Vladimir Putin’s war machine.

But there’s another major world economy that borders Russia, depends on Moscow to keep the power running, and faces tough choices because of its close ties to the US.

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Models of oil barrels seen in front of a "stop" sign and the EU and Russia flag colors.

REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

Will the EU oil ban hurt Russia?

In what would be Europe’s boldest move yet to punish Russia for invading Ukraine, the European Commission on Wednesday unveiled a plan to ditch all oil imports from Russia in the coming months.

The proposal is part of a broader set of sanctions that would also cut SWIFT access for Sberbank, Russia’s largest bank, and ban Russian state broadcasters from operating in the EU.

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A worker turns a valve at a Russian oil field near the Ural Mountains.

REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

The worst may be yet to come in Russia-Ukraine energy crisis

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has prompted fears of a disruption of oil and gas supplies to Europe, sending prices to new highs. Brent crude futures reached $105 per barrel in the immediate aftermath of the news before falling back; European natural gas prices jumped by as much as 25%.

Coming at a time of already tight supplies, the conflict is bound to maintain upward pressure on prices, unless it becomes clear that Russian exports will not be interrupted. The impact will be felt directly by US consumers and others, and it will contribute further to already-high inflation.

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What We're Watching: Biden's oil dilemma, Abiy Ahmed takes up arms, Iran nuclear talks on life-support

Biden's oil dilemma. The Biden administration says it will release some 50 million barrels of crude from US stockpiles in a bid to reign in soaring gasoline prices. Similar moves were made by Japan, South Korea, and China in recent days as global energy prices rise and supplies remain scarce in many places amid the ongoing economic recovery. Pain at the gas pump and broader inflation concerns in the US have contributed to Biden's tanking poll numbers. With Republicans poised to do well in next year's midterm elections, the president is under pressure to turn things around fast. But Biden has already come under fire from environmental groups, who say the president's move flies in the face of his Glasgow commitments to reduce rather than boost fossil fuel consumption. But in domestic politics, bread-and-butter issues are paramount, and if Biden doesn't "fix" the gas problem hurting American families, the Democrats could suffer a beating at the polls. What's more, Biden has also angered the 23-nation Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, which worries that extra US oil on the market will bring down prices for their own crude. Now the organization is warning that it might renege on an earlier promise to produce more oil.

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Gabriella Turrisi

The “bad guys” at COP26

Everyone understands that burning fossil fuels contributes directly to global warming. We all know that we have to reduce oil and gas consumption to avert the worst effects of climate change. And we're well aware that this is a major focus at COP26 right now.

But spare a thought for those who are often portrayed as the bad guys in all of this: the countries that pump and export hydrocarbons like mad. And they do it not because they hate polar bears, but rather because oil and gas exports are crucial for their economies, their geopolitical power, or in some cases their very survival.

Let's have a look at the tradeoffs that a few exemplary exporters are dealing with.

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Jonas Gahr Støre of the Labour Party (Arbeiderpartiet) during the Norwegian Parliamentary Election on September 13, 2021 in Oslo

Jon Olav Nesvold / BILDBYRÅN

What We’re Watching: Left wins Norway’s climate vote, everyone wants India’s jabs, junta denied Myanmar’s UN seat

Norway's climate election result: Most votes have now been counted from Norway's parliamentary election, and the left-leaning Labour party, headed by former FM Jonas Gahr Støre, has reaped 46 out of 168 seats up for grabs, ousting the conservative government led by PM Erna Solberg. Støre will now try to form a coalition government that's expected to include the agrarian Centre Party as well as the Socialist Party. The election was broadly seen as a referendum on climate change policy, given that oil accounts for more than 40 percent of Norway's exports and employs 7 percent of the entire workforce — though Norway itself has rolled out an ambitious green agenda at home. Støre says that he'll limit new oil explorations, but has ruled out getting rid of fossil fuels, saying that oil revenues could help fund the transition away from oil in the long run. Importantly, the Greens, the only political party that called for an end to all oil exploration, reaped only 4 percent of the vote, and is therefore unlikely to yield enough (or any) influence. Regardless, Støre may need to incorporate some smaller left-wing parties in his coalition that could force him to take a more forceful stance on climate change, like raising carbon taxes.

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