Venezuela Plans to Split State Oil Company

Mark Jones markjones011 at tiscali.co.uk
Thu Jan 9 13:32:31 MST 2003


 Jon Flanders wrote:
>
>
>
> Eyes On The Prize
>
> by Glenn Weiser
>
> A recently uncovered energy-policy report from April 2001 suggests that
> the Bush administration has been plotting action against Iraq since well
> before 9/11—and that the motivation is oil
>

When the Opec states began to nationalise their oil industries in the
1960s-1970s, one result was the first oil shock which began in 1973. The
response of western states and oil corps was to prospect for oil elsewhere,
to try to end the Opec quasi-monopoly hold on world energy supply.

Now, if oil was a normal business, the way it would have worked would be
that all the cheap, easy-to-get-at reserves in places like Iraq and Saudi
Arabia would be pumped dry first; then we would have moved on to the harder,
more expensive places like the North Sea. Oil prices would have risen as
energy became scarcer and more expensive and substitutes (assuming there are
any meaningful substitutes, which in fact there aren't) would have entered
the market. But because of Opec, everything happened in a back-to-front way.
Offshore and expensive oil deposits have been exploited first and are now
running out; but because Opec continued to have spare capacity and could be
swing-producers, oil has remained very cheap and the economy has not had
enough price-indicators to encourage conservation, alternatives etc. Now the
Non-Opec oil is running out, demand is exploding (China), and all that is
left is the Mid-East, which means essentially Iraq and Saudi Arabia, since
Kuwait, Iran and the other Gulf producers are already at capacity and at or
past peak production. Now I read reports that Saudi Arabia's legendary
al-Ghawar field, the biggest ever discovered with an original endowment of
more than 100bn barrels, is also at or already past peak production.
Al-Ghawar was -- it can truly be said -- not only the backbone of the world
oil industry but the material basis for industrialisation, prosperity and
human population growth in the 20th century.

The Caspian has turned out to be a busted flush. Only two years ago the WSJ
waxed delirious about the allege "197 gigabarrels" of reserved in the
Caspian basisn (why 197 Gb? Why not 196.5 Gb, or 202 Gb? The empty precision
of almost all fiugures bandied about is one of the tragicomical aspects of
world oil). New estimates and he recent downgrading of Tengiz and Kashagan
suggest that extractable Caspian reserves are only a tenth what the WSJ
claimed.

That leaves Iraq. There is no other explanation for what the Bush-Blair Axis
of Evil is up to than a simple, naked grab for the last available oil
reserves.

In context, the actions of these western powers look like madness born of
desperation, similar to Hitler's drive for Russian oil, which led to his own
downfall. What is needed is an end to capitalist economy, social justice and
redistribution on a planetary scale, the husbanding of remaining energy,
water and soil resources, and the closing-down of the petroleum economy. In
fact, the petroleum economy WILL close down; that's a matter of geology, not
politics. The only question is, how will it end?

NEVER has the world and its people so badly needed the inspiration,
collective strength and theoretical guidance of socialism, of socialist
ideas, of socialist and working class mass parties and organisations, of
socialist leadership, of socialist individual courage and sacrifice, as it
does now. Without us, nothing stands in the way of collective nemesis for
humankind. Socialism and social revolution have already become indispensable
preconditions for the survival of the human species.

Mark


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