Saudi crown prince Muhammad bin Salman announced Friday that Saudi Arabia would use its oil assets to back a $2 trillion sovereign wealth fund. The move suggested to many observers that the kingdom is preparing for a likely end of the petroleum business and transitioning to being primarily an investor. While it is true that the money for the sovereign wealth fund is expected to come from petroleum sales, it also seems clear that the kingdom recognizes that it has a stranded asset that won’t be nearly as valuable in a decade or two as it is now. It could even end up, like coal, being regulated out of existence in many countries.
Here are 3 reasons Saudi Arabia is likely making this massive change in economic strategy: