Current Events

Join us as we watch the crisis unfolding

November 18, 2001

It looks as if OPEC is challenging Mexico, Norway, and Russia to a price war. Crude oil prices are everywhere under $20.00 per barrel, and may go lower. This is, of course, welcome news to energy consumers and to the U.S. economy in general. However, it certainly does not raise awareness of an impending oil shortage. The public generally takes low prices to be an indicator of abundant supplies. Getting the nation's attention becomes even more difficult.

This morning's New York Times, section 3 page 2, points out that the president of OPEC, Chekib Khelil of Algeria, earned a doctorate in petroleum engineering from Texas A&M University. Which brings up the never-ending topic:

What do you say if you see an Aggie in a three-piece suit?
"Will the defendant please rise."

A letter from Colin Campbell explained that private funding established the Oil Depletion Analysis Center (, directed by Roger Bentley in London. An ODAC position paper submitted to the British government is available at A related European group is The Association for the Study of Peak Oil, ASPO, and a position paper from that group is available at It looks as if Campbell and his associates are making a larger impression on the British government than we are making on the Bush administration in the U.S.A.

The surprisingly rapid progress of the war in Afghanistan is going to resurrect the "Victory through Air Power" outlook. At least since the time of the Spanish Civil War, wars have been won (or lost) mostly on the ground. Watch for the Air Force and the Navy to claim that they can win a war primarily from the air. Now all they need is copious supplies of 1) JP-4 jet fuel and 2) money.

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