The Coronavirus pandemic has caused crude oil prices to crash almost 40% even as Saudi Arabia and Russia pump more oil into the market. Fears are rife that this crisis will hit demand. There are repercussions on the U.S., the world’s top oil producer, on India, one of its new clients, and on the Gulf Cooperation Council countries
The removal of 11 top ministers in the Riyadh government last week by the young crown prince Mohammad bin Salman, is a geopolitical upheaval, the implications are serious. Domestically, the kingdom is seeking to liberalise its conservative society and move away from oil-dependency – evident from the expected listing of its crown jewel Aramco. For India, which imports oil largely from West Asia, instability could cause a spike in prices, leaving less for its ambitious reforms. Globally, there is now space for new alignments – in the Great Power plays, in the Shia-Sunni rivalry, and in the war on terrorism.