Oil exports down

Could someone notify our clueless congresscritters?

Fresh data from the U.S. Department of Energy show the amount of petroleum products shipped by the world's top oil exporters fell 2.5% last year, despite a 57% increase in prices, a trend that appears to be holding true this year as well.

Maybe if they'd known this before hauling the oil executives up to Capitol Hill last week, they might not have made as many fatuous statements as they did.  Then again, who am I kidding?

For all the attention paid to China's increasing energy thirst, rising energy demand in the Middle East may pose the greater challenge. Last year, the region's six largest petroleum exporters — Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Iran, Kuwait, Iraq and Qatar — curbed their output by 544,000 barrels a day. At the same time, their domestic demand increased by 318,000 barrels a day, leading to a loss in net exports of 862,000 barrels a day, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Demand in the Middle East is a major factor right now, said Adam Robinson, an oil analyst at Lehman Brothers in New York. Mr. Robinson predicts the region will constitute more than 40% of increased demand next year.

Now that I think about it, maybe we should conceal the rising usage/falling exports within OPEC nations from members of Congress.  It'll just make them more inclined to follow through on the notion of suing OPEC.

The unstated assumption would go something like this: The nerve of those countries, using more of the product that lies under their soil, when everyone knows we have the right to buy as much as we want at a price of our choosing so we don't have to drill off our own coasts.  (Yes, I know they subsidize, and we all know that's foolish.  What do you want to do about it?)

Oh, and there's this cheery sentence buried in the article: "Mexican officials announced Monday that output from the country's once-mighty offshore Cantarell field had plunged by a third in less than a year."

Someone call a priest to administer last rites to Cantarell.  Then call a bookie to place bets on the year when Mexico ceases exporting oil, like Indonesia, which acknowledged its status this week by announcing it will pull out of OPEC at year's end.