NBR's Nevil Gibson skilfully joins the dots between the war in Georgia, Russia's renewed imperialism and envy-ridden attacks on 'Big Oil.' "Western consumers," he says, "are likely to pay a heavy price because of politicians beating up on Big Oil."
For years, the privately owned multinational oil companies have been a soft target for anti-capitalist politicians, including those in New Zealand. They have even promoted inquiries into alleged cartel pricing – none of which prove anything contrary to consumers’ interests.
The result has been, since World War II, a huge shift in control of oil resources from the private sector to state-owned companies, many of them hostile to Western interests, again including New Zealand.
The bulk of the world’s oil resources – if not yet supply – is now controlled by governments.
An increasing number of these governments, using “convenient idiot” politicians in the West, are using their oil power to work against Western interests – Venezuela and Iran are just two that come to mind.
All this is a lead-up to the most egregious example: Russia, which this week had everyone in lather over beating up Georgia.
Yet this is just follows on from earlier events, which have seen most of the major oil companies – Shell, BP, Chevron and the like – having their interests seized.
The anti-Big Oil politicians had nothing to say when these companies - owned by western shareholders - were effectively expropriated without compensation.
Russia equates its interests with turning its state-owned oil resources into political power in a new twist on the old Cold War.
Russia is not afraid to use this power to put the screws on wannabe democratic countries – such as Georgia and Ukraine – that want to join western institutions such as the European Union and Nato.
Opponents of the Big Oil companies have made the Russians’ goals that much easier.