The flame of oil is not eternal. The horizon carries all signs of peak oil.Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest crude oil producer and exporter risks becoming an oil importer probably by 2025 if current economic, demographic and security trends continue into the future. Saudi oil production peaked in 2005 and has been in steady decline since then with domestic oil demand rising at an alarming rate and accounting for 37% of crude production in 2012. As a result, Saudi crude exports have already declined by 32% between 2005 and 2012 and are projected to decline further by 9% by 2015. Population growth and robust economic development and also fuel subsidies drive that demand.
By 2025 Saudi oil consumption is projected to exceed production by 610,000 barrels a day (b/d) and Saudi Arabia would have ceased, to all intents and purposes, to remain a net oil exporter. This paper will argue forcefully that even a drastic cut, if not elimination, of subsidies altogether and a determined shift from oil use in power generation and desalination to nuclear and renewable energy sources starting immediately will not delay the inevitable day when Saudi Arabia will become a net oil importer. The paper will also assess the implications of this eventuality for the global economy, energy security and the price of oil