Saudi neomercantilism in the oil price war

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The co-called oil price war took place between several main global oil producers; OPEC (led by Saudi Arabia), Russia and the newcomer; American tight oil or fracking oil. These oil producers were competing against each other over market shares in the global oil market, by maintaining their high oil production rates, even if this led to a decline in oil prices and a reduction in revenues from oil sales. As energy politics need more coverage in International Political Economy (IPE) theory, this paper aims to argue that Saudi Arabia's policies during the oil price war of 2014 - 2016 reflected a policy of neomercantilism, which is the IPE equivalent of the school of realism in International Relations (IR). This paper tests for neomercantilism by testing three of its main definitional components. The first definitional component is that the state, as the political authority, intervenes in the economic decisions. The second component is the primacy of the state interests over business corporate profits, or the primacy of political and security considerations over short-term economic and corporate profit considerations. The third is the zero-sum or relative gains nature of dealings between states. Afterwards, this paper tests for neomercantilism in the Saudi policy by examining how each of these definitional components is reflected in the Saudi policy during the oil price war.