Friday, February 25, 2011

Saudis Vow to Boost Oil Production: Potential Unrest Threatens World's Biggest Petroleum Exporter

At Los Angeles Times, "Saudi Arabia's move to keep oil flowing brings crude prices down":

Reporting from Washington - Crude oil prices pulled back from highs not seen since 2008 as leaders from Saudi Arabia to the White House offered fresh assurances that the world wouldn't run short of oil despite violence in the Mideast and North Africa.

Oil futures hit $103 a barrel in New York trading Thursday but ended the day at $97.28, down 82 cents. In Europe, oil also fell in electronic trading after nearing $120 a barrel.

Petroleum prices had surged on fears that political unrest in Libya, Egypt and other countries could reduce global supplies — pushing fuel costs higher and throwing the fledgling global economic recovery into reverse.

But energy traders were calmed Thursday by news that Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest oil exporter and OPEC's de facto leader, was in talks with European refiners to fill the gap caused by the disruption in Libya, which pumps about 2% of world oil consumption.

In addition, the International Energy Agency, a Paris-based energy advisor to industrialized countries, said it would tap oil reserves if needed. And the White House said the U.S. and other countries had the ability to act if world oil supplies were constrained.

Saudi Arabia's promises to rein in prices by boosting production might appear surprising given that its economy is almost entirely dependent on oil revenue. And Saudi leaders, finding themselves surrounded by unnerving populist revolts, have been frustrated that the U.S. seems sympathetic to the uprisings.

But the latest assurance makes public what the Saudis have been doing quietly since the fall: gradually increasing production to keep up with growing demand and to damp prices.

Like much of the rest of the world, the Saudis fear runaway oil prices. They understand that prices over $100 a barrel threaten to sap global economic growth and with it, demand for oil. With its vast reserves and infrastructure, Saudi Arabia is uniquely positioned to put a lid on prices, an imperative that politics so far has not derailed.
More at the link.

Mostly, the Saudis are worried about losing the support of Washington amid regional instability. Excellent discussion at the clip above. If Saudi Arabia topples, that'd be on the scale of the Egyptian revolution.

Oil Prices Surge on Middle East Unrest."


Kenneth Davenport said...

Donald -- I'm back in Colorado Springs this weekend for the annual Leadership Program of the Rockies Retreat. We had Grover Norquist talk yesterday about tax policy and last night Charles Krauthammer was the keynote. Great stuff. Charles spent time psychoanalyzing Obama and making the case that the future of the nation hinges now on 2012. He gave no predictions on a nominee for the GOP, but made clear he prefers someone without the kind of "baggage" which will make him/her to issue -- and not the issues themselves. He's looking for a policy wonk who can articulate the issues and stand intellectually toe-to-toe with Obama. IOW, not Sarah Palin.

Anyhow, John Gizzi from Human Events was also here and today's lunch speaker is Steve Hayes. Not CPAC, but pretty interesting nonetheless!

Rusty Walker said...

What ever happended to "drill baby drill!"
We really need to tap our own plentiful resources; natural gas and pertroleum in Alaska- the idealistic wind (Horrid windmills and vast need of land and expense is hopeless) and sun (unrealistially limited) Obama dreams of while the nation once again does nothing to solve its energy crisis is mind-numbing.