Fires burn after a drone strike on Saudi company Aramco’s oil processing facilities, in Buqayq, Saudi Arabia, at the weekend. Picture: Reuters
In the early hours of Saturday morning, several armed drones, or cruise missiles, depending on your description, hit two Saudi Arabian oil processing facilities.

The result was that Saudi Arabia cut its oil production by 5.7 million barrels a day - significant because the Saudis are the second largest producers of crude oil and possess a significant portion of oil reserves.

Saudi Arabia along with its allies in the Gulf have been waging a war, to exert their hegemony over Yemen, with Iranian-backed Houthi fighters since 2015.

This weekend’s successful strikes against Saudi Arabia means that the conflict won’t be settled militarily, never mind the confused ramblings of US President Donald Trump.

What that means for South Africans is that in two weeks the price of petrol and diesel will increase, further adding to our economic woes despite the recent good news that the country’s gross domestic product grew by 3.1% in the second quarter of this year.

For context, South Africa imports most of its crude oil from Saudi Arabia and as recently as May we collectively spent R110.3 billion importing oil from mostly four countries.

South Africa’s top two oil suppliers - Saudi Arabia and Nigeria - are in regions that could, at best, be described as volatile. That means South Africa will continue to suffer from the vagaries of regional politics.

South Africa’s crude oil consumption currently stands at an estimated 533 411 barrels a day - the lowest in a decade in which consumption has been falling.

While the government has made positive noises about the use of renewable energy sources, consumers who simply choose to install solar panels on their roofs are inviting all manner bureaucratic red tape.

Wars and instability which impact oil supplies along with environmental considerations will mean that South Africa, which has abundant renewable resources, will have to increasingly rely on nature to augment its energy needs.

Government should not wait for another war in the Middle East to spring into action.

Two things it can do to further drive down demand for crude oil is to promote electric vehicles and incentivise solar installation for new housing developments and buildings.