Pikes Peak Newspapers letters to the editor

Saudi Arabian oil to offset Russian oil

A question has been raised by some who question what President Biden got from Saudi Arabia during his recent Mid-East trip, from which he just returned.

What seems to have happened, as a minimum, is that Saudi Arabia has committed itself to increasing its oil production to what it says is its maximum capacity: 13 million barrels per day, up from 11 million per day. Europe currently imports about 2.1 million barrels per day from Russia. If all of this increase from Saudi Arabia finds its way into Europe, then Europe has some safeguard against future oil pressure from Russia (pun intended). One of the problems which might exist is that over half of the imported oil from Russia is refined. If this is not a problem, then we should expect to see the price at the pump come down fairly quickly (unless the oil companies fail to pass along this benefit).

Europe imports a huge percentage of its natural gas from Russia, something we have warned them about for many years. Interestingly, very large reserves of gas are found under the Mediterranean Sea off of the coasts of Israel, Egypt, and other nations. Israel is in a position to supply Europe with about 10% of its current needs. It has no liquefaction capacity, but Egypt does and these two countries seem to be working together on this. A direct pipeline from Israel into Europe has been talked about and plans drawn up, but this approach has become problematic because of climate change programs.

Both Israel and Egypt have discovered even more untapped reserves; All of this takes time to develop, but if the Ukrainian problem lasts for more than just a few months, there are avenues available to ultimately replace all of Russian fossil fuel exports into Europe. “Ultimately” may be a long time, but one must at least begin the process.

The interim will be painful, but necessary if Putin is to be stopped. If the Iranian problem is resolved, any oil from that nation is most likely going to flow to China, this because Russia, China and Iran now seem to be setting up their own economic block, which is another story.

Our current oil price problem is a product of world pricing because we, too, import oil. Yes, we could go back to fracking, but the methane release seems to cause tremendous environmental issues. My vote is for breathable air; even if I have to walk, or ride a bike, or carpool, or take whatever is available by public transportation.

A tax on our oil companies, based upon their excessive profits (now said to be about 300% above what it was when oil prices exploded again), could go a long way in reducing our effective “price at the pump” by supplementing the needs of the average citizen in other areas, such as wheat subsidies and other social programs. This may sound like socialism, but price gouging is not a nice label, either, and that one fits.

Harvey A. Epstein, Monument

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