26 January 2006

The vulnerability of energy supplies

After the recent attacks in Nigeria and Russia on oil and gas pipelines, the possibility of social disruption leading to a new energy crisis moves from dystopic fantasy to looming reality. The Global Guerrillas website adds an interesting twist: the possibility that such attacks might come not just because groups with political objectives may wish cripple governments or supranational corporations, but rather that individuals may stage such attacks to profit from the change in world oil prices. It has always been the case that individuals have seen windfall profits following disasters. But now it seems that small scale adventurers, operating independently or in collusion with others, can cause both anarchy in energy producing countries (with secondary effects upon liberal democracies) and make substantial profits. Given how obvious this opportunity is, it would be surprising if it didn't happen in the very near future. Get ready for $100/barrel oil.

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