Analysis & Opinions - Bloomberg View

4 Charts Show Why Trump's Saudi Visit Is Different

| May 19, 2017

He'll be the first president for whom oil isn't the most pressing issue.

President Donald Trump prides himself on being unpredictable and, thus, no one knows what to expect of his first trip abroad.  But when it comes to the first stop, Saudi Arabia, we can sure it will be very unlike the visits of past U.S. leaders to Riyadh when it comes to one vital topic: oil. 

For decades, petroleum -- specifically Saudi oil production -- was high on the list of American talking points.  But this time around, to the extent that oil figures into the conversation, it will not be about Saudi production, but about investments, joint ventures and the upcoming (maybe) initial public offering of the state-owned oil behemoth Saudi Aramco.

This departure from the past is not -- as many Americans may think -- because the U.S. no longer imports much oil from Saudi Arabia now that the shale boom has made America an energy superpower again.  In fact, despite its own energy prowess, the U.S. continues to import a steady amount of Saudi crude.  If one looks from the financial crisis onward, as a percentage of overall U.S. imports (which have declined significantly), Saudi Arabia’s share is on a slightly positive trajectory.

For more information on this publication: Please contact Geopolitics of Energy Project
For Academic Citation: O'Sullivan, Meghan.“4 Charts Show Why Trump's Saudi Visit Is Different.” Bloomberg View, May 19, 2017.