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Raymond J. Learsy Headshot

OPEC's "Noble Cause"

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Remarkably, breathtakingly, while holding us all for idiots at a level of presumption comparable to that of his "brother in arms" Bernie Madoff in his shared talent of ripping people off, OPEC's senior nabob, Saudi Oil Minister Ali al Naimi, enlightened us according to a report on CNBC.com that, "You must understand that the purpose of the $75 price (Saudi King Abdullah's target) is for a much more noble cause. You need every producer to produce, and marginal producers cannot produce at $40 a barrel." Yes, I kid you not. And it was reported with a straight face with no commentary nor query by the ever aquiescent press that covers matters relating to oil and its attendees.

Not to be outdone, and in perfect two step the New York Times carried
its oil ballet choreographer Jad Mouawad's byline anticipating today's OPEC meeting by penning a poignant paean to higher oil prices that found its way to the front pages yesterday of the ever-pliant New York Times, "Big Oil Projects Put in Jeopardy by Fall in Prices" and in screaming headlines by its sister newspaper, the International Herald Tribune, "Low Prices Cripple Oil-Exploration Push."

There followed a fulsome litany of projects halted and/or suspended and the wreckage being foisted on the suffering oil patch, a perfect set up for OPEC to announce a major cutback today that in Mouwad's insinuation, should be greeted and cheered by us all, and setting the stage for Al-Naimi's exercise in nobility.

In these dour times its nice to find a happy ending. At the conclusion of today's meeting, OPEC announced an additional production cut of more than 2 million barrels/day. And then surprise, surprise certainly dampening the Saudi Oil Minister's brush with nobility, the price of oil fell by some three dollars a barrel, a not inconsequential drop, breaking $40/bbl at one point. Sic Transit gloria!