Oil shifting world political balance

A gas nozzle in the fuel port of a car.

TEXT OF STORY

Renita Jablonski: The International Energy Agency is trying to get a handle on the condition of the world's top 400 oil fields. For a long time the IEA predicted supplies of crude would keep pace with rising demand. But the Wall Street Journal reports today the agency is now seeing red flags going up on a combination of aging oil fields and diminished investment. The IEA worries companies may be struggling to surpass 100-million barrels a day over the next couple decades. So, even more supply worries, with that dollar that remains weak, means there's no end in sight for the surge.

Those lucky few countries with a surplus to export are earning huge profits. That flow of money is changing not only the world's economy, but the balance of political power as well.
Today, the House Foreign Affairs Committee looks at how skyrocketing oil is affecting this country's national security. John Dimsdale has a preview from Washington.


John Dimsdale: The fact is the U.S. economy depends on an energy resource that's increasingly controlled by unfriendly governments.

David Sandalow: High oil prices empower our enemies and they enrich those who wish us ill.

David Sandalow, the author of "Freedom from Oil," will testify oil profits allow countries like Iran and Venezuela to afford more police to enforce authoritarian rule.

Sandalow: If you look at what's happening in Russia today, the trend away from democracy has tracked very closely with the trend upwards in world oil prices.

And Paul Saunders, the executive director of the Nixon Center, worries geopolitical jockeying for a scarce resource could undermine free markets.

Paul Saunders: You see China's imports from Saudi Arabia growing very rapidly. And in the coming years, probably overtaking American imports from Saudi Arabia.

Both Saunders and Sandalow will argue the best solution is to be free of foreign energy by switching to alternative fuels.

In Washington, I'm John Dimsdale for Marketplace.

About the author

As head of Marketplace’s Washington, D.C. bureau, John Dimsdale provides insightful commentary on the intersection of government and money for the entire Marketplace portfolio.

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