Saudi Arabia's power struggle

America is not alone when it comes to Peak Oil versus cornucopians.  Saudi Arabia has its own factions, each led by former executives at Saudi Aramco.

Today's edition of Mr. Murdoch's new rag spins a pretty good yarn of Sadad al-Husseini — who's convinced Saudi Arabia's salad days are behind it — and his one-time protege Nansen Saleri — who thinks the best is yet to come.

Most illuminating is how Saudi Arabia's senior leadership is ping-ponging back and forth between the two outlooks as oil sits at record-high prices.

In recent months, Saudi leaders appeared to have adopted Mr. Husseini's view. Local reports quoted King Abdullah saying that some new discoveries should stay in the ground. "With grace from God, our children need it," he said. [Ali] Naimi, the oil minister, announced that Aramco saw no need to go beyond 12.5 million barrels a day [of capacity, not production] next year.

But on Sunday, under heavy international pressure, the kingdom revived its earlier promise to push for the far higher target of 15 million barrels a day.

How this power struggle plays out will have a lot to say about the supply-and-demand balance in the next four years.