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OPEC fuels the winter of our discontent

PUBLISHED: 09:29 24 December 2008 | UPDATED: 15:44 07 September 2010

BY WALTER ROBERTS IT is the winter of our discontent. Santa will have been despatched with a smaller and lighter sack filled with empty promises. He may well have put Rudolph to pasture. The mandarins who stalk the corridors of power have failed in their remit to have the

IT is the winter of our discontent. Santa will have been despatched with a smaller and lighter sack filled with empty promises. He may well have put Rudolph to pasture.

The mandarins who stalk the corridors of power have failed in their remit to have the foresight or vision to steer us clear of a financial crisis that has been a long time in the brewing. It rankles that such lack of vision may continue to dog us well into the future. Take the question of crude oil supplies for instance.

There is a presumption that the supply of oil to importing countries will not cease till every last drop of crude is extracted. An unfounded belief prevails in officialdom that OPEC will not be establishing critical reserve quotas or cut off points below which residual reserves will be extracted for their own consumption only and exports to importing countries will cease.

But it is inevitable that these critical reserve quotas will eventually be factored in with estimates of crude reserves actually available to importing countries having to be drastically revised. If left too late the negotiations will result in a scorched earth policy for green targets with scant regard for CO2 emissions as the rush to appropriate what's left will be frenzied and ruthless.

In the interests of a beleaguered planet we must act before its too late or we'll all be living dangerously. Fortunately the price of oil has dropped dramatically and it is the right climate financially to negotiate from a position of strength when supply is less than demand.

OPEC was formed in 1960 in Baghdad. Its mission was to coordinate and unify the petroleum policies of member countries and ensure stable oil markets, and so so forth. Today its shibboleth rings hollow and its creed exposed. To most of us it has become the stalking horse we must disable if we are to go from annus horribilis to annus mirabilis.

Walter Roberts

Henfield Close, N19


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