I regret to share that by the time we get around to appreciating what we have, and how best to manage ourselves and those endowments, that it may be too late by then. I say this, because while we keep arguing and squabbling, the real world is progressing and may leave us with little to nothing, when we do come to our senses. That is, if we ever summon the courage and honesty to do so.
As excerpted from the Wall Street Journal article titled and dated November 12, “IEA sees US shale squeezing OPEC influence,” the authoritative International Energy Agency had this to say, “unceasing U.S shale oil production will shape global energy markets for years to come….” That is far-reaching in its implications.
A little more may assist to clear any cobwebs hanging in the domestic rafters. For even as current shale oil production is lower, the word from that same influential IEA source speaks of forecasts, which report that the U.S. shale-related developments will “account for 85% increase in global oil production to 2030.”
I think it might not be unreasonable to assert that Guyana may succeed in getting its electoral act, its governance mechanism act, and constitutional architectural act somewhat together by then. The problem is that it may be too little too late.
Because for the next 10 years, according to the IEA’s Executive Director, Dr. Faith Birol, “U.S will limit the ability of traditional exporters to manage exports.” Though directed primarily at OPEC’s leading lights, it means rearranging of supply to impact price is now under pressure, as in being diluted.
How can potential exporter Guyana not be affected by, what I will term, a form of managed pricing that restrains the profit maximisation characteristic of prior oil capitalism, remains to be seen. But this much I am prepared to offer now: if the U.S. shale projections prove to be on the money, then Guyana can end up being out of the money. Or, at best, in derivative language, at the money.
To be clear, that means close to something way less than $100 a barrel; something in the vicinity of plus 10-15 dollars from where prices perch currently, and something that resembles breakeven. Who cares? Just give us the chance to continue to disembowel each other politically.
In addition, there is still more sobering news from the same Wall Street Journal for lost Guyanese leaders and a populace locked in a less than an ideal state of mind, as to what our oil wealth signifies and how best to extract the most from it.
By 2040, “annual electric vehicle sales could rise to more than 30 million.” That would be a 1500% increase from the meager 2 million unit sold yearly today. With total global automotive sales estimated to be around 100 million in 2020, existing electric vehicles impact may be regarded as a negligible drop in the bigger considerations, but the increase could be a player and difference-maker a decade or two hence. Thirty million non-fossil fueled vehicles is something to sneeze about.
Editor, the point is this: when we should be acting coherently and cogently so that we peak earlier and capitalize, we are too busy with drilling holes in each other, and getting somewhere, but only in pieces and inestimably weaker. The oil opportunity could just pass us by. While we rage about votes and engage in the craftiest of power projections, the big oil cats prowl and position themselves to gain an even bigger upper hand.
We are always languishing in the distant realm of also-rans and struggling vainly to catch up. In other words, cats eating our dinner again and again.
I observe, and read of, the slicker and savvier political operators standing their ground in defiance of the required political sense that makes for commonsense oil sense. More failure and fallout to come, I sense. I watch and listen to the politically new kid(s) in town, whose games are fresh, maybe good. Like the Eagles, everybody loves them (seems so), but my belief is that the lyrical refrain of “don’t let them down” will come to pass. I wish I could state differently, but I can’t.
For the brave new oil world of Guyana, we are saddled with the ancient and limited and pedestrian. Ancient thinking, ancient ways, ancient results.
I close by extending this gem (at least, I thought so) that I came across: it is true, as Lord Acton famously asserted, “power corrupts.” But, the gem is that it is a two-way street. Meaning that powerlessness also corrupts. That would be representative of natives: indifferent to the point of passiveness; prone to every manner of manipulation; and, in reality, a mirror image of the people they put into power to rule over them.
So when I rant and rail about this leader or that other one, I am really looking at myself, pointing at myself, and condemning myself. This is the grandest bargain of all that has existed forever: go forth, proceed along the same lines, represent my interests. And none other. And further I say not.
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