Tag Archives: OPEC

Here’s a thought: Let’s join OPEC


The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries has becomes something of a four-letter word in the United States.

OPEC is evil. It intends to do us harm. We don’t want to be “dependent” on oil produced in countries that hate us.

You’ve heard the mantra. I’ve heard it, too. It all started about the time of the first Arab oil embargo in 1973.

Here, though, is a notion that ought to get some serious consideration.

Now that the United States also is a “petroleum exporting country,” why don’t we join OPEC at the conference table?

OPEC comprises a lot of nations that do hate the United States. Venezuela is one of them. Iran, too.

However, now that we’re the big dog in the fossil fuel-producing pack, it would seem to make sense that we could exert our own influence over OPEC’s decision-making as it grapples with whether to reduce or increase production in an effort to control worldwide fuel prices.

Through a series of on-going efforts, Americans have eliminated this country’s dependence on imported oil. We’re now on the verge of becoming No. 1 in the world. We’ve overtaken Russia and Saudi Arabia. We’ve developed more renewable energy sources, helping increase the glut of petroleum on the world market.

OPEC, though, keeps meeting and deciding how much — or how little — oil to produce.

Isn’t it time the United States of America join OPEC? For that matter, we ought to bring our oil-rich allies in Canada and Mexico into the organization with us — providing, of course, that they’d be willing. We no longer need to curse the organization.


OPEC sends a Christmas gift


Bloomberg News reports that the price of gasoline is about to plummet.

Good news, yes? Sure, if you’re a motorist who dislikes pouring money into his motor vehicle fuel tank. I’m one of those.

If you’re a government official who serves a state — such as, say, Texas — that depends on oil revenue to fund government services, well, the news isn’t so great.

My self-interest makes me happy about the news.

OPEC is refusing to cut production of oil. U.S. supplies are at an all-time high. We’re driving more fuel-efficient vehicles these days. We’re developing alternative energy sources. Hey, it’s all good.

I don’t like paying nearly four bucks a gallon for fuel, which is what we were shelling out two years ago. Today, the price of gasoline in Amarillo is around $1.62 per gallon.

It’s interesting, too, to note the silence from Barack Obama’s critics now that fuel prices are heading south. When they were skyrocketing in the other direction about midway through the president’s first term, the critics were blaming him personally for the hardship. These days, he’s getting none of the love.

Does he deserve it? Aww, probably not.

Neither did he deserve the blame when the prices were going the other way.

Thanks, OPEC, for the holiday gift.

Merry Christmas to you, too, OPEC.

'Gas war' takes on new meaning

Do you remember when the term “gas war” referred to competing service stations at intersections dropping their prices to lure customers away from the station across the street?

I read recently something like that happened in Oklahoma City, dropping the price of gasoline to less than $2 per gallon.

Good deal, right?

Well, the term has taken on a more global meaning. The energy price war is causing serious declines in the price of gasoline in the United States. It dropped to $2.15 per gallon today in Amarillo and it’s likely to drop even more. Heck, it might have dropped another penny or two since I got home today a little after noon.


OPEC recently refused to cut production. The supply of crude oil remains quite high, while demand is declining. Add to that the surging U.S. energy production, which is about to make the United States the world’s largest producer of petroleum in the world, surpassing Saudi Arabia as No. 1.

We can thank (or blame) the fracking that’s going on in West Texas and in North Dakota and Montana, which are seeing a huge boom in the production of shale oil.

Although I am acutely aware that the decline in oil makes it more difficult for producers to keep pumping it out of the ground, I also am grateful to be paying a dollar or more less for gasoline than I was paying a year ago. It’s freeing up some disposable income in our house.

Someone will have to tell more once again why this oil price decline somehow is bad news.

Well? Anyone?


Don't bet on OPEC

It’s gratifying to me to see the United States and Canada standing up to other oil-producing regions in the ongoing battle to control the price of fossil fuel.

According to an analysis on MSN.com, the North Americans are winning the fight.


The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries recently declined the opportunity to reduce production. The non-action sent Brent crude to new low prices. According to MSN: “The Saudis appear to be spoiling for a fight, trying to find out exactly how cheap oil must be to force surging U.S. shale-oil production to seize up like an unlubricated engine.”

The gratification comes in the knowledge that North Americans finally seem to understand the need to conserve energy and to use alternative sources of energy. Yes, the production of shale oil in North Dakota and Montana also is helping boost oil supplies that have been outstripping demand; the result has been the plummeting prices we’ve seen across the country.

Shale oil is less expensive to produce than when it first came onto the oil-production scene, according to MSN.

Add the falling production costs of shale oil and the growing use of alternative sources — wind, sunlight and hydropower, to name just three — then OPEC’s influence on world oil price becomes diminished.

We’ve come a good distance from the days of the Arab Oil Embargo, correct?


Majority has caught up

Hey, what’s going on here? I’ve long considered myself to be among a distinct minority of Americans refusing to climb onto the gloom-doom bandwagon.

Now it turns out we comprise a majority of Americans who think the country is heading in the right direction.


A CNN/ORC poll says most Americans think the nation is trending correctly. It’s just a 52 percent majority, but according to CNN.com, the poll reflects the most positive outlook since 2007, the year just prior to the financial collapse.

As CNN reports: “And it marks consistent improvement in the mood of the nation over the past few months, despite a series of national security crises and continued gridlock in Washington. In September, 50 percent of respondents said things were going well.”

The falling price of oil, heating oil and gasoline is putting more money in people’s pockets, which is a good thing as the Christmas shopping season commences. Gasoline today in Amarillo is about $2.41 per gallon of regular unleaded. And OPEC announced today it would not cut production, which is going to continue to put downward pressure on oil prices as supply continues to outstrip demand.

Will any of this stop the naysayer and goofball critics from trumping up crises where they don’t exist? Oh, probably not.

I’ll just keep going about my business, acknowledging that the nation remains strong, with a positive outlook despite the yammering of those looking for political advantage.




Gas prices zoom up … why?

Oil speculators have become the bane of many Americans’ existence.

They’re the folks who push panic buttons every time a crisis flares in a region of the world that produces oil.

Iraq. Oil. Crisis. Price spikes. Boom!


The price of gasoline jumped a dime per gallon today across Amarillo because, I guess, speculators have determined that the Iraq crisis is going to result in a major disruption of oil from that region to the rest of the world.

Politico.com reports that the Midwest region of the United States is the first to feel the hit. I guess that would include the Texas Panhandle.

President Obama said the crisis in Iraq hadn’t created “major disruptions of oil supplies.”

I’ll take him at his word.

Back to oil speculators. I continue to be amazed that gas prices are subject to these dramatic increases. Decreases — if they come — usually arrive in dribs and drabs. A penny here and there. Maybe two cents a gallon.

Frankly, it remains a mystery to me that the price of oil has to move at all even when these crises erupt.

This country imports a tiny fraction of its oil from Iraq in the first place. The bulk of our imported oil — which now comprises a minority of all the petroleum consumed by Americans — comes from friendlier sources, such as Canada and Mexico.

But it’s those speculators that drive me more than just a tad nuts as the price of gasoline zooms upward.

I don’t believe I’m the only person who shares this view.

Perry needs to define ‘great’

There was Texas Gov. Rick Perry at the Conservative Political Action Conference.

He was bellowing, gesturing, pointing his fingers, hollerin’ some Texas slang — and saying something about how the United States “could become great again.”

Hmmm. How does the governor define great?

* We’re still the pre-eminent military power on the planet.

* We’re still the world’s No. 1 economy.

* We continue to rack up more Nobel prizes than any other country on Earth.

* We remain the No. 1 destination for immigrants looking to carve out a better life for themselves and their families.

* Our Constitution continues to be the model for newly created countries seeking to craft a framework for their own governments.

* The United States has recovered from the Great Recession while other developed nations continue to languish.

* We’re about to become the world’s No. 1 producer of oil.

* We’ve cut our oil imports to historic lows.

And the Texas governor rails about our country losing its greatness?

Are we perfect? No. Perfection is unattainable, but it’s always worth seeking.

Still, Gov. Perry needs to clean those new eyeglasses he’s wearing.

From my perch, I have concluded that we still are the greatest country on Earth.