The OPEC heads of state will meet this week, after a period during which the price of oil repeatedly set new records. The meeting, according to the Toronto Star, will include preliminary discussions about boosting output to avoid the $100 oil milestone that seems ever closer at hand.
The run-up in the price of oil has been attributed to the threat of war in Iraqi Kurdistan, the heretofore stable, oil-rich region from which Kurdish separatists have been peppering Turkey and where Turkey threatens to retaliate.
It's been blamed on surging demand, not only in the gas-guzzling United States but in China, India and other fast-developing nations.
And, it's been blamed, by some at least, on peak oil, the theory that the nations of the world have just about tapped out their oil reserves, at least the easiest, cheapest reserves.
Back on Sept. 11, all eyes were on Saudi Arabia, as OPEC decided to make a "token" increase to the world oil supply, an ambiguous sign for those looking for evidence that Saudi Arabia, like other nations in and outside the Middle East, had exhausted important supplies. Now, there will be another round of speculation, and another window on the secretive Saudis, who as evidenced by the fragility of the economy, on edge in part due to the proximity of $100 oil hold tremendous power in their hands.
There's no question they'll try to retain the power and wealth that has come with the world's need for their oil. The question is how much oil they hold in their wells.
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