Monday, April 21, 2008

Middle East And OIL

Seen from a Middle Eastern perspective, the present global oil situation can be summarised within five major and inescapable trends:

1- The world's super giant and giant oil fields are dying off

2-There are no more major frontier regions left to explore besides the earth's poles

3- Production of non-conventional crude oil has been initiated at great costs - in Venezuela's Orinoco belt, Canada's Athabasca tar sands and ultra-deep waters

4- Even OPEC's oil production has its limits

5- No major primary energy rival can possibly take over from oil and gas in the medium term.

Adding up these five trends, one can envision a global oil crunch at the horizon most probably within the present decade. Unfortunately, however, the general public will not heed such a rational vision. And, even if it did, it would be loath to respond to the implied threat. In its defence, it should be said that many actors are constantly and consistently reassuring it: the press (even parts of the specialised press), most politicians, some international institutions, a couple of major oil companies and naturally OPEC. But this can only last until petrol stations post 'empty', natural gas supplies are suddenly shunted and, eventually, the lights go off.

Giving it more thought would probably burn more neurons than I can handle so I leave it the Princes and Politicians of the free world.

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