Securing America's Future Energy

SAFE Modeled Abqaiq Attack In 2011 Oil Shockwave Simulation

Contact: Alex Adams | 202.461.2374 |

Washington, D.C.—The recent attacks on Saudi Aramco’s Abqaiq oil processing plant mirrors a 2011 simulation developed by Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) in its Oil Shockwave exercise—concluding that the United States has few short-term weapons to respond to events such as this.

Involving national security experts such as former Director of National Intelligence Admiral Dennis Blair and George W. Bush national security adviser Stephen Hadley, as well as seasoned energy policymakers such as Clinton administration Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Stuart Eizenstat, the simulation gamed out the effects on oil prices and U.S. policy options if Al-Qaeda attacked the Abqaiq oil facility. The simulation ultimately showed that the United States should enhance its energy security by pursuing policies that reduce our dependence on oil.

“It is extremely concerning that the United States is as unprepared for this moment now as it was when we simulated this exact scenario back in 2011. We have few near-term options to counter such a global oil supply crisis, and the long-term solutions have yet to be enacted. For the sake of America’s energy security, we must take meaningful actions to reduce our oil dependence, from greater fuel diversity to optimized fuel economy regulations,” said Robbie Diamond, President and CEO of SAFE.

The 2011 Oil Shockwave is one of several such scenarios SAFE has gamed out to highlight the economic and national security threats posed by our continued dependence on oil. SAFE’s public launch was an Oil Shockwave scenario in 2005, led by Robert Gates before he became Secretary of Defense. SAFE then conducted another scenario in January 2006 at the World Economic Forum in Davos, before holding a further Shockwave simulation in November 2007 led by former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin.

In April 2008, SAFE conducted an additional Oil Shockwave at the Harvard Kennedy School and released Oil Shockwave: College Curriculum, an interactive teaching tool for college professors. The updated 2011 version that featured an attack on Abqaiq was conducted in July 2011 at SAFE’s National Summit on Energy Security.


About Securing America’s Future Energy

Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) is an action-oriented, nonpartisan organization that aims to reduce America’s dependence on oil. Near-total dependence on petroleum in the transportation sector undermines the nation’s economic and national security, and constrains U.S. foreign policy. To combat these threats, SAFE advocates for expanded domestic production of U.S. oil and gas resources, continued improvements in vehicle fuel efficiency, and transportation sector innovations including electric vehicles, natural gas trucks, and autonomous vehicles. In 2006, SAFE joined with General P.X. Kelley (Ret.), 28th Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, and Frederick W. Smith, Chairman, President, and CEO of FedEx Corporation, to form the Energy Security Leadership Council (ESLC), a group of business and former military leaders committed to reducing the United States’ dependence on oil. Today, the ESLC is co-chaired by Frederick W. Smith and General James T. Conway (Ret), 34th Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps.


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