‘Fracking’, or more accurately hydraulic fracturing, is opening up huge deposits of shale gas and increasingly what is called ‘tight oil’ across North America. As that technology spreads around the world, so will these alternaive energy sources, and that may fundamentally change the world’s relationship with the present energy-exporting nations. ‘We are talking about a massive reduction in demand for Middle East energy, and in the case of Middle Eastern countries that live off exported energy they really have nothing else,’ Dr Aviezer Tucker, the assistant director of the Energy Institute of the University of Texas, told me. ‘So it could seriously destabilise regimes that have got used to using this income from the export of energy to subsidise the stability of the regime. Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have nothing, absolutely nothing else. They don’t have an educated population, they don’t have the engineers, there’s nothing.’
— Paul Danahar, The New middle East, The World After the Arab Spring, Bloomsbury Press, 2013, p. 31.