Tuesday, December 02, 2008

The Dark Art of Assessing OPEC Oil Production Cuts

FINANCIAL TIMES -- When the OPEC oil cartel met in Cairo last week, some of its most powerful members argued that the key action the group must take is to keep strictly to the 1.5m barrel a day cuts that it has already announced. Verifying whether OPEC's countries do just that is far from simple. Knowing how much each country produces is mired in politically motivated dishonesty, secrecy and, in many cases, incompetence.

The most reliable data, used even by OPEC countries themselves, come not from the cartel member's energy ministries, but from so-called secondary sources - a network of spies watching, binoculars in hand, the movement of tankers in and out of the world's biggest export terminals.

Conrad Geber, head of Petro-Logistics, one of the tanker-trackers, says gathering the information is a painstaking exercise. Mr Geber relies on multiple sources - from "spies" at oil ports to "friendly" officials at oil companies leaking data. But even so, he concedes the information is never 100% accurate.

The confusion and distrust about production is so deep that OPEC members regularly request data about fellow members' production from the International Energy Agency. This is ironic because the IEA, created after the 1970s oil shocks as the western countries' oil watchdog, is basically to OPEC what Nato was to the Warsaw Pact.


At 12/03/2008 1:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And in the meantime, Obama has apparently dropped his "windfall oil profits tax" from his website.



At 12/03/2008 12:21 PM, Blogger Adam said...

Anon, thanks for the link, I probably shouldn't enjoy it, but it's hard not to giggle when you read leftist complaining about their savior.

At 12/03/2008 1:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And in the meantime, Obama has apparently dropped his "windfall oil profits tax" from his website.

Whoa. The whole point was to tax oil companies who were raking in "windfall profits" out of fairness. Have their profits gone down? Maybe, Obama now understands high gas prices are a result of high oil prices and not just these companies arbitrarily setting gas prices to increase profit.

I doubt it.

At 12/03/2008 3:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about taxing the so-called mainstream media, i.e. the liberal lap dogs of Barack Millhouse Obama and his socialist-secularist ilk?

New York Times, CBS, MSNBC, CNN, LA Times come to mind. But wait, they don't know how to make money, but pontificate how to run the U.S. economy. But I digress.


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