Codependent OPEC?

“Opec accuses Bush of threatening energy security”

So reads a headline in the Financial Times. One might (wrongly) expect the story to be about the latest barrage of criticism of Bush’s foreign policy in the Middle East. So if it’s not about Iraq, Afghanistan or the Palestinians, what the heck is Opec so upset about?

The Opec oil cartel on Tuesday hit back at President George W. Bush, criticising the US and other consuming countries for pursuing energy policies that threatened energy security and the global economy.

Energy policies that threatened energy security, what?

Here’s an excerpt from the actual Opec statement:

“Alas, uncertainties are compounded by consumer government policies aimed at moving away from oil – moreover, oil from specific global regions – principally, as expressed by such consumers, for security of supply reasons.”

The group argues that the only way to ensure security of supply is by ensuring security of demand.

Is your head spinning yet?

They do have a point. Less demand leads to falling prices and falling revenues for producers, which means there’s less money to invest in new exploration or extraction activities.

Fair enough, but do these people honestly think that more money in the pockets of a few rich oil magnates is going to increase the security of the region? They’ve had plenty of time (during which demand has been rather high, one might add) to stabilze things and the only thing many have managed to accomplish is to worsen domestic inequalities by poorly managing massive oil revenues.