Friday, November 2, 2007

Closing in on a hundred dollars a barrel

Wow. We are going to see hundred-dollar per barrel oil. Maybe today, maybe next week, maybe it will take longer. But I would bet a hundred bucks that we will definitely see it by year end. The dollar is simply too weak to manipulate the markets to prevent it. I'm no econ wizard (I don't even balance my own checkbook, I have a banker I went to high school with do that for me) but Bernanke at the Fed is unnerving. Hell, it scares me spitless. The best analogy I can conjure - It's like a counterfeiter has authentic plates & linen paper, and access to a quality press...But I digress, as is my wont...

Light sweet crude traded at $96.24/bbl. on Thursday, the highest price oil has ever realized.

I've said it before, and I will say it again...we are witnessing a realignment of world economic and political power, it is realigning along an energy axis, and future historians are going to write about the time in which we live as the "Emergence of the Resource Wars."

If we don't get a handle on this stuff, and do so double-time, the future is bleak. If you like the oil wars, you are gonna love the pending water wars.

There is a new reality in town. The countries producing energy are sitting in what is commonly known as "the catbirds seat." But the US? Not so much. The oil-rich countries, like Russia and Iran, are not going to be cowed by Yankee bluster any more. They have oil, and the emerging Asian economies have an insatiable appetite for the sticky black stuff, and the odorless clear stuff - and the ability to pay for it. The desperation of the Bush Administration as the reality about Iran sets in is growing palpable.

The Bush administration is desperate to stop the long-planned India-Pakistan-I ran (IPI) Pipeline, which will deliver Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) to the subcontinent. The U.S. would much prefer that India satisfy their energy needs with nuclear energy via a deal with the United States that has been stalled. Never mind that Indo-Persian relations are over 2000 years old, that Persian was the language of literature and government on the subcontinent until the 1800's. (But these jokers have no use for history, sociology nor anthropology.)

The United States seems bent on clinging to obsolete modes of thinking. It simply makes no sense to invest all of our blood and treasure into securing what's left of a sdwindling resource. Which, by the way, is so chemically unique and versatile, that I am nonplussed that it is simply burned for fuel! Of course, I understand's greed. If you make electric cars that don't burn petrol, every soccer mom in America wouldn't be forking over a hundred bucks a week to Big Oil. It's drug-dealer economics - get 'em addicted and they keep coming back, until they are either dead or desperate enough to go through the pain and agony of cold-turkey withdrawal.

If we were serious about taking concrete steps to counter the coming energy crisis, we wouldn't be fighting a war for oil (and Hubbert, by the way, was an optimist) we would be undertaking a Manhattan Project for energy independence.

Some things are too important to be left to private industry, and responsible energy policy is one of them. Private industry is profit driven. Period. If there is no maximized profit motive, there is no reason to pursue a particular path. It is in the interest of big energy that we remain beholden and dependent upon their products. Thats econ 101.

We should have been working on these problems for the last 30 years, but instead the decision was made to fiddle while Rome burned, the problems could be punted to the next generation. And those of us who were agitating for responsible energy policy were dismissed as cranks, spoil-sports, worry-warts, and Nervous Nellies.

Well, we got the last laugh - except there is no humor in this situation. It's time to deal with reality, because reality is not going to have any qualms about dealing with us.

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