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Lowering Saudi Arabia’s fuel consumption and energy system costs without increasing end consumer prices


  • Walid Matar
  • Frederic Murphy
  • Axel Pierru
  • Bertrand Rioux

    (King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center)


Saudi Arabia aims to reduce the growth of its energy demand. This paper outlines an approach that could help the country to reduce substantively its current fuel consumption and could result in a net economic gain without increasing current end consumer prices and while maintaining positive utility sector net cash flows. Using a new multi-sector equilibrium model developed by KAPSARC (the KAPSARC Energy Model or KEM), we estimate the magnitudes of the potential economic gains that different policies would generate. Our long term static version of the model reveals that an annual economic gain exceeding 23 billion USD in 2011, or almost 5% of that year’s GDP, could have been achieved while the water and power sectors continue to live within their cash flows. Our approach—which introduces investment credits for solar and nuclear and allows more natural gas consumption in the power sector—achieves almost all the benefit of raising inter-sector transfer prices for fuels to world market equivalences, but only moderately increases current transfer prices. Importantly, this gain does not require an increase in consumer prices of electricity or water.

Suggested Citation

  • Walid Matar & Frederic Murphy & Axel Pierru & Bertrand Rioux, 2014. "Lowering Saudi Arabia’s fuel consumption and energy system costs without increasing end consumer prices," Discussion Papers ks-1403-dp02c, King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center.
  • Handle: RePEc:prc:dpaper:ks-1403-dp02c

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Matar, Walid & Murphy, Frederic & Pierru, Axel & Rioux, Bertrand & Wogan, David, 2017. "Efficient industrial energy use: The first step in transitioning Saudi Arabia's energy mix," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 80-92.
    2. Rioux, Bertrand & Galkin, Philipp & Murphy, Frederic & Feijoo, Felipe & Pierru, Axel & Malov, Artem & Li, Yan & Wu, Kang, 2019. "The economic impact of price controls on China's natural gas supply chain," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(C), pages 394-410.
    3. Murphy, Frederic & Pierru, Axel & Smeers, Yves, 2019. "Measuring the effects of price controls using mixed complementarity models," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 275(2), pages 666-676.
    4. Soummane, Salaheddine & Ghersi, Frédéric & Lefèvre, Julien, 2019. "Macroeconomic pathways of the Saudi economy: The challenge of global mitigation action versus the opportunity of national energy reforms," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 130(C), pages 263-282.
    5. Griffiths, Steven, 2017. "A review and assessment of energy policy in the Middle East and North Africa region," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 249-269.
    6. Jorge Blazquez, Lester C Hunt, and Baltasar Manzano, 2017. "Oil Subsidies and Renewable Energy in Saudi Arabia: A General Equilibrium Approach," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(KAPSARC S).
    7. Lopez-Ruiz, Hector G. & Blazquez, Jorge & Vittorio, Michele, 2020. "Assessing residential solar rooftop potential in Saudi Arabia using nighttime satellite images: A study for the city of Riyadh," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 140(C).
    8. Philipp M. Richter & Roman Mendelevitch & Frank Jotzo, 2018. "Coal taxes as supply-side climate policy: a rationale for major exporters?," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 150(1), pages 43-56, September.
    9. Bertrand Rioux, Philipp Galkin, Frederic Murphy, and Axel Pierru, 2017. "How do Price Caps in Chinas Electricity Sector Impact the Economics of Coal, Power and Wind? Potential Gains from Reforms," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(KAPSARC S).
    10. Yahya Z. Alharthi & Mahbube K. Siddiki & Ghulam M. Chaudhry, 2018. "Resource Assessment and Techno-Economic Analysis of a Grid-Connected Solar PV-Wind Hybrid System for Different Locations in Saudi Arabia," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 10(10), pages 1-1, October.

    More about this item


    Consumer behavior; Decentralized decision making; Domestic oil consumption; Economic Development; Energy consumption; Energy demand; Energy policy; Energy market reform; Investment Credits; KAPSARC energy model (KEM);

    JEL classification:

    • C61 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Optimization Techniques; Programming Models; Dynamic Analysis
    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
    • H25 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Business Taxes and Subsidies
    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
    • Q32 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Exhaustible Resources and Economic Development
    • Q48 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Government Policy


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