US, the world and $200 a barrel


By Abdulateef Al-Mulhim*

Oil is here to stay… And no, the US is not a renewable energy powerhouse. The US is still a fossil fuel powerhouse.

Now, if the issue is oil production, consumption, oil technologies, petroleum reserve, high oil prices, low oil prices, giant oil companies or books and conferences about oil, then, there is only one country that comes to my mind. It is the United States of America and no one else. Oil is what made America the one and only world super power.

America is the only country in the world that can benefit from either low or high prices no matter how high or how low. Simply put, America can handle even a $200 oil barrel. As a matter of fact, higher oil prices is an advantage for the US.

The reason for this is, with high price America will end up having more influence and more control over the world. In short, America has oil and lots of it, but, other industrial countries don’t. Having said that, with oil, America dominated,, and will continue to dominate, the world. So, why America and the Americans are complaining about a $100 dollars a barrel?

It is true that modern day oil was discovered in various places in the world such as the one in 1846 in the South Caucasus region of the Russian Empire, but, it wasn’t until the oil discovery in the United States on Aug. 27, 1859 when the world took note about the massive possible changes that will affect politics and bring a shift in strategic planning for every country in the world, especially the major powers, mainly the United States and Great Britain.

In other word, oil became the strongest and most important tool in the hands of the US. And it was oil that made America to be everywhere after years of self-isolation.

Oil made America the most advanced and most powerful country in the world. It was oil that made America win all kind of military, political, and economic wars. And America became addicted to oil no matter how much they talk about other forms of energies.

Fast forward to the year 1973….

Was it the American Civil war in 1861 and the extensive use of the safe and efficient Kerosene that skyrocketed the oil demand and the fact that that whoever controls oil will control the world. A fact that was made evident during WWII. Or was it the 1973 Israeli-Arab war?

The 1973 war was a brief war that broke out in the Middle East, but, it was remembered not because of the casualties, but, it was remembered by the brief and symbolic oil embargo that was imposed by Arab countries against the West.

In fact, 49 years later, the very brief oil embargo is still making headlines today.

It is true that the embargo increased oil prices drastically and showed the vulnerability of the world and their extreme dependence on oil and the fact that without oil, the world would stop moving. America made the loudest noise about the embargo at a time when it was America who benefited from the embargo.

US oil companies were the biggest winners no matter how much oil producing countries made from the sharp increase. Not to mention that oil companies made billions of dollars from replacing the gas pumps in the 1970s.

It is true that America and Americans changed some of their daily life routines and driving habits. A 55 MPH speed limit was imposed, no more Sunday drive and Americans stood in long lines at their local gas station. Ironically all that happened about 49 years ago in 1973 when American oil wells were full to the brim. But, the American media and the American people didn’t know it. Or did they?

Of course, no one blamed the supergiant American oil company. All fingers were pointed toward Saudi Arabia, not only then, but, to this day Saudi Arabia is the first to be blamed any time there is an oil price increase or decrease or any oil shortage or surplus. So, early in the morning, the Saudis are blamed for everything that have to do with oil, and at the end of the day, the world will call the Saudis for a solution. In short, damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

It is true, that Saudi Arabia for the past decades was, and still is the, swing producer, which was able to balance and stabilize the oil prices and keep it affordable for all countries in the world. But, what do we get in return. Never mind the high income from oil export which is our main and probably only bread and butter, but, the question is, what next and what’s in it for the Saudis? I mean, where was the world and mainly the West when Saudi oil facilities were attacked? Can the world do without Saudi oil? The answer is no, they can’t.

Now, the United States is the largest oil producer and largest consumer and it can produce more. In addition, there are only few Western countries in the world that have oil such as Canada, the UK and Norway and these countries can handle very high oil prices, but, the rest of the world can’t afford it. So. What will the world do if oil price reaches the $200 mark? What would be the role for the US besides looking at the Saudis?

Let’s be frank and honest, sooner or later oil price will hit the $200 a barrel mark and we might see chaos and stagflation in many places around the world. And the world will turn their faces toward Saudi Arabia like the other times when the world faced a recession due to oil prices fluctuations. Saudi Arabia will continue to extend its hands to help the world, but, others should work with the Saudis in a cooperative way and not as rivals or enforcers.

— The writer is a political analyst. He can be reached on his email

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