Things are looking very tense right now in the aftermath of the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who many believe was abducted and murdered inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. While tensions between Saudi Arabia and Turkey are high, and many western countries including the U.S. are considering issuing economic and arms sanctions on the country, the Saudis issued a veiled threat that emphasized its "vital role in the global economy" and that any action taken upon it will be met with "greater action". This holds the possibility that Saudi Arabia may pull a repeat of the 1973 oil embargo and artificially increase their oil prices dramatically, going anywhere from the $80 a barrel to anywhere between $200-$400 a barrel. Now while that would be a worst-case scenario that could rock the global economy and initiate a stranglehold, it may actually backfire on them for a number of reasons.
First is that even though it would cause a shock and give the Saudis an immediate advantage at first, long-term it would serve to hurt Saudi Arabia's geopolitical standing amongst the world, so numerous alliances that the Saudis have worked so hard to develop and maintain could dismantle due to the potential crisis. One alliance that could really hurt the country in the long-term would be its relationship with the U.S., a relationship the country so badly needs in order to maintain its military parity with Iran and its own internal security. Already the tensions surrounding the disappearance of Khashoggi has led some members of Congress debating on whether to issue sanctions and some also wondering why the country still gives the Saudis a guarantee of support through its arms shipments and political backing. If the Saudis were to launch an oil embargo, that could demolish the relationship between the two countries, halt arms shipments, remove that political safety net, and even tilt the power structure in the middle east towards Iran, something that the Saudis cannot afford right now.
So in conclusion, if the oil embargo was to become a reality, the Saudis would have an advantage in the short term, having an economic stranglehold on many countries through their oil, however in the long term, Saudi Arabia would be in danger of losing their political standing in the world as a result, potentially suffer crippling sanctions, and be in danger of playing second fiddle to Iran. Overall this is an extremely important continuing event that should be closely watched in the meantime.