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Saturday, September 18, 2004

THE INAUGURAL POST: WHAT'S SO INTERESTING ABOUT OIL ANYWAY?

My popularity amongst friends and colleauges never suffered so sharp a decline as when I became fascinated by oil and energy security. 9 out of 10 individuals find oil politics tediously boring. Most educated folks have some sort of opinion, if not knowledge, about the relationship of oil to U.S. involvement in the Middle East, but it stops right there. Once one begins producing supply and consumption numbers, reserve figures and capcity claims, let alone rumors about foreign comapnies of which hardly anyone has ever heard, the yawns begin, the eyes dart to the clock on the wall, and the subject is changed post haste. A lonely existence indeed.

So what is so interesting about oil? My own fascination with oil grew out of an interest in international relations generally. All nations have a strong national interest in securing a stable supply of energy, and in a petroleum based world economy such as ours, that means having a strong national interest in the states that have oil. While this is true of a myriad of commodities and manufactured goods --such is "globalization"-- oil happens to be the most important, and it happens to be located largely in politically unstable regions. Oil is the tie that binds all developed and developing nations to those countries and regions, no matter how volitile, that have the oil they need to survive.

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