Could political tension in Saudi Arabia drive up gas prices?

Saudi crackdown's global impact

The rising political tension in Saudi Arabia could lead to an increase in gas prices. New video shows some of Saudi Arabia's richest and most powerful people sleeping on cots, with rifles behind them, while being detained at a Ritz-Carlton hotel. Many top Saudi officials were arrested over the weekend in what's called a sweeping corruption probe.

American officials now say some 500 people have been detained in a royal purge that has roiled oil prices and threatened geopolitical stability, reports CBS News' Bianna Golodryga.

Members of the royal family have been detained at the 5-star Ritz-Carlton hotel in Riyadh since the unprecedented weekend arrests.

Thirty-two-year-old Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman says this is part of the effort to root out corruption from the kingdom.

"The question for investors is, is this a sign of a major reform effort that's needed to be done, or should we be concerned about internal instability," said commodity expert Helima Croft.

Croft says the oil market is concerned about the Middle East geopolitical risk driving up prices.

In terms of how it could affect the U.S., Croft said, "I think it's significant because it's a global market and so if we do see a problem in a major production zone, we will feel the effects at the pumps in terms of higher prices."

Bin Salman has focused on revitalizing the economy by broadening investments and introducing economic reforms.

"I feel like the Crown Prince is legitimately trying to bring his country into the 21st century," said former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia Robert Jordan.

Bin Salman played host to President Trump on his first trip abroad, where the two men were said to have bonded. The president has expressed confidence in the new leadership.

"The events of this past few days I think are something that we have to all carefully watch. The Saudis feel somewhat empowered I think by the Trump administration to take very strong measures," Jordan said.

To calm economic concerns, the Crown Prince directed Saudi ministers on Tuesday to ensure that national and multi-national companies were not disrupted, including those tied to individuals under investigation.