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Saudi oil policy 'just took turn for the worse'

Iranian oil
MyLoupe | UIG | Getty Images

In earlier time, the death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud would have rocked the oil market. The succession plan has always pointed in a direction away from U.S. interests and a turn toward an even harder line on Middle East issues. The antipathy toward Iran will be levered up, and the various Sunni-Shia battles will likely see greater escalation.

Oil prices have quickly jumped $1.00 per barrel on the news in a knee-jerk reaction to the uncertainty. What is more likely is an even greater commitment to over supplying the market, in attempt to drive out higher cost producers and hurting Iran and Russia as an additional benefit.

King Abdullah did push for modernization of Saudi society, allowing for more rights for women, but those efforts are now likely to be tabled.

There is a famous picture of King Abdullah walking and-in-hand with President George W. Bush through a patch of Blue Bonnets at W's ranch in Crawford Texas, when oil prices were surging circa 2007.

While the short-term plan is likely to attempt to hurt frackers, Iran and Russia via an over-supplied market, the longer-term implications are for oil supply policies that are more hostile toward western consumers. In addition, the appetite for bringing the proxy war to Iran and other Shiite factions in the region will rise, which result in a return of the geopolitical risk premium in the years ahead.

U.S.-Saudi relations and longer-term Saudi oil production policy just took a turn for the worse with the death of King Abdullah.