Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Iran cuts off the Germans

Calling the reliance on oil an addiction is usually not very helpful.  Addictions are brain changes that drive people to indulge in otherwise expensive and dangerous practices they would logically not do.  Anyone who has tried to quit smoking knows the drill—EVERY logical and rational cell in your body KNOWS this is a expensive, repulsive, smelly habit that will lead to ugly diseases but the addictive brain wants a smoke so badly, your hands start to shake.

So a dependence on oil is not an addiction.  It's a technological requirement.  Your owners manual tells you that you need 87 octane gasoline for your car to run properly.  If you do not have this required fuel, your nice car is just an expensive decoration taking up space.  So getting your hands on this fuel is the logical thing to do if you want your car investment to provide transportation.  So while this is not an illogical craving, in some ways it is actually much worse than an addiction because it IS logical.

I keep wondering when the oil producing nations will begin to figure out just how utterly necessary their go juice is to the international economy.  Or how invested everyone is in getting it.  What this really means is that the oil in the ground will always be very valuable—and that it is highly likely that it will be even MORE valuable in the future.  Even if folks stop burning oil, it will still be valuable as lubricants and feedstocks.  So instead of pumping oil at maximum rates, it is in the interest of the producers to pump a little as possible as is necessary to keep the oilfield machinery working.  After all, the oil fields that still have oil 30 years from now will be extremely valuable.

It's beginning to look like the economic embargo on Iran may lead her to understand the real value of her resource.  Read some of the quotes below.  Taken to their logical conclusions, Iran could decide to hoard its oil as a long-term investment.  This could lead to a situation where she strikes a deal with, say, China to barter her oil for solar panels to minimize domestic consumption of her resource.  She could use her oil to build a society that barely needs oil.

Who knows?  Not even Norway has figured this out.  Statoil income has funded a giant nest egg so now the average Norwegian has an investment portfolio.  Of course, this portfolio is managed by "professionals" who are just as influenced by neoliberal trendiness as anywhere else in Scandinavia.  I noticed that some of the victims of the various bankster scams in 2008 were the pension funds of small Norwegian villages.  So they are not an example of "pump less and use the proceeds to build a future that doesn't run of carbon-based fuels."
Preemptive Move Ahead of Talks

Iran Stops Oil Exports to Germany


Iran has halted oil exports to Germany, according to Iranian television, in an apparent effort to strengthen its position ahead of a fresh round of nuclear talks with Western powers in Istanbul on Saturday. It stopped crude exports to Spain and Greece on Tuesday to preempt the EU's embargo on oil imports, which come into force in July.

Iran halted oil exports to Germany on Wednesday, a day after it stopped crude exports to Spain and Greece, according to Iran's official Press TV news network. The move appears to be an attempt to boost its position ahead of talks with world powers on its nuclear program in Istanbul on Saturday.

The station said the halt of exports was preemptive retaliation for an EU embargo on Iranian oil imports that is due to take effect in July. Iran has already stopped sales to Britain and France.

The West suspects Iran of trying to build a nuclear bomb and this year tightened its sanctions in the long-running dispute. In an indication that Tehran's "counter-sanctions" are having little impact, Spain's biggest refiner said it had already replaced Iranian crude with Saudi Arabian oil months ago.

Iran said it would halt crude oil deliveries after the EU announced its embargo in January, part of a range of tough new sanctions aimed at forcing Tehran to curb the nuclear work that the West suspects is part of a nuclear weapons program.

The talks between Tehran and six world powers on Saturday could pave the way for an easing of sanctions and might lift the threat of Israeli air strikes on Iran.

The EU was the second biggest buyer of Iranian oil after China before the embargo was announced. Most European buyers have already reduced or halted their purchases from Iran in anticipation of the July 1 deadline and because of increasing difficulties in paying for the crude after new sanctions were imposed on Iranian banks.

On Tuesday, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Iran could withstand a total embargo on its oil sales for several years. more

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