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The North Sea was supposed to run out in the 1980s. Then in the 1990s. And now production is still on-line.
The bulk of extra supplies that could be put into the market come from two places. One, they come from other Persian Gulf suppliers, of which Saudi Arabia is at the top of the list.
So the major obstacle to the development of new supplies is not geology but what happens above ground: international affairs, politics, investment and technology.
People always underestimate the impact of technology. To give you an example: In the 1970s the frontier for offshore development was 200 meters, today it is 4,000 meters.
It's extraordinary how inventive one can be with ethanol right now.
In a couple of years, the Chinese will be seen as regular participants in international industry. Their companies have to report to shareholders as well as to the Chinese authorities. They need to make money, they have to be efficient.
If a war started, the oil price probably would go up, as you said, maybe $5, $6 a barrel until you saw other oil from the extra supplies that are available elsewhere coming into the world, into the market.
I think the producers, for the most part, don't want to see prices skyrocket because that will only create problems for them down the road and would also be a, you know, would be a very serious shock for a world economy that can't afford serious shocks right now.
First, we have to find a common vocabulary for energy security. This notion has a radically different meaning for different people. For Americans it is a geopolitical question. For the Europeans right now it is very much focused on the dependence on imported natural gas.
Even Silicon Valley investors have put well over a $1 billion in new energy technologies.
Cycles of shortage and surplus characterize the entire history of oil.
Clearly, the Chinese need the resources, but I don't think they want to clash with the industrial world which happens to be the market for their goods.
But the key thing is that Iraq, while it's got very large oil reserves, has marginalized itself as an oil exporter and these days its exports are only about one tenth that of neighboring Saudi Arabia.
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