Oil and Gas

Saudi succession plan about continuity: Experts

Saudi succession & price of oil

Oil investors are closely watching the health of Saudi Arabia's king, who was hospitalized Wednesday. However, while some wonder about how an eventual change in leadership might impact the global oil markets, two Middle East experts told CNBC they don't expect much difference in how a new monarch would govern.

"They'll pursue the same security arrangements with the United States. They'll maintain Saudi Arabia's commitment to fight the Islamic State. They'll also be pumping oil because there are broader strategic interests the kingdom is pursuing," David Phillips, former senior advisor to the State Department and a CNBC contributor, said in an interview with "Street Signs."

King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, thought to be 91, was admitted to the hospital on Wednesday for medical tests, according to state media, citing a royal court statement. A source told Reuters he had been suffering from breathing difficulties, but was feeling better and in stable condition.

The news sent the Saudi stock exchange down as much as 5 percent, before it recovered slightly to close almost 3 percent lower.

The king has "been in bad health for the past several years," and the government has been anticipating his passing for some time, said Phillips, now the director of the Peace-building and Human Rights Program at Columbia University.

"There are policies and personalities in place in order to maintain continuity," he added.

Read More Saudi stock index falls; King Abdullah admitted to hospital

Abdullah named his half brother, Prince Salman, 13 years his junior, heir apparent in June 2012 after the death of Crown Prince Nayef bin Abdulaziz. Earlier this year he appointed Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz as deputy crown prince.

Questions in House of Saud

Former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia Robert Jordan believes the crown prince is up to the task of leading the country. He also said there is a deep bench of competent ministers in the government.

"They have well-educated, very savvy individuals who I think will keep the ship steering in the right direction," Jordan, now a partner at Baker Botts, said in an interview with "Power Lunch."

Phillips said Saudi Arabia's oil strategy has been to drive the price of oil down to reduce the competitiveness of North American shale oil.

"They have 269 billion barrels of crude. They are producing 10 million barrels a day. They also have a rival in the region which is Iran and by reducing Iran's revenue they're also having an impact on the sanctions targeting the Iranian government," he noted.

Read More Saudi Arabia doesn't care about volatile oil

However, while Saudi Arabia is prepared to go it alone when it comes to oil, it will not isolate itself when it comes to other matters, Phillips said.

"What's important is the U.S. and Saudi Arabia maintain its strategic and security cooperation and you can count on that going forward."

Jordan is also confident the two nations will maintain their relationship, even though a personal relationship between President Barack Obama and a new king may take some time to develop.

"They are still a strategic partner, very important in the war on terror and combating financial terrorism and certainly maintaining stability in the oil markets. So I think that's going to continue," Jordan noted.

—Reuters contributed to this story.