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Over a Barrel: Breaking the Middle East Oil Cartel Hardcover – August 18, 2005
Top Customer Reviews
Instead, what he offers in his chapter "debunking" peak oilers is logical fallacy upon logical fallacy, with nary a fact to break the monotony. His favorite form of fallacy is the straw man: he attacks geologists like Hubbert, Campbell, and Laherrere for predicting that global oil production will follow a smooth bell curve--when NONE of them does so. He also says that most of the Peak Oil authors work for the oil companies or for oil-producing countries. How about some examples? I know just about every significant Peak Oil author (except Hubbert, who is deceased) and I can only think of one out of maybe a dozen who fits Learsy's description--which, if it were accurate, might lead the reader to think that Peak Oil authors have ulterior motives. These are just two examples out of many. It is really frustrating to see what should be a scientific discussion brought down to the equivalent of name-calling--evidently because the author has no actual evidence with which to argue his case.
Now to the author's primary assertion: that OPEC is gouging the world by imposing high oil prices. In fact, for most of its history OPEC has bent over backwards to supply oil at prices agreeable to Washington. The Saudis even let go of billions in potential earnings in the 1980s in order to flood the world with cheap crude so as to help bankrupt the USSR (it worked)--all to cozy up to George H. W.Read more ›
As other reviewers have noted, the facts of the global supply/demand environment do not match with what Learsy is selling. He uses no facts to prop up his arguments that OPEC is gouging the US because the facts point to the opposite:
Consensus estimates show that OPEC is producing at as close to full capacity as possible (98%-99%). There is likely a small amount of production that is shut-in in Saudi Arabia but it is high-sulphur, low gravity (heavy) oil that wouldn't suit US refineries even if it was shipped. These numbers are readily available from any major investment firm or publicly from the International Energy Agency.
Secondly, Learsy conveniently ignores the fact that oil producers are price takers. Because oil is a global commodity, it is the international market that sets prices and as anyone who has been following commodity markets over the past five years has seen, the growing economies of Asia have been hungry for as much product as they can get their hands on. It is these competing buyers going after a finite supply that have sent the prices to current levels. OPEC has not been able to set prices since 2001 when there was still a surplus of global supplies and OPEC had spare capacity.
Finally, OPEC members may be corrupt but they are not stupid. Extremely high oil prices are a potential liability for these countries.Read more ›
The third of this troika is "Over a Barrel." I would desperately like to read a logical, fact-laced book that counters the assertions of the other two books. Unfortunately, this is not it. The author has some kind of wierd paronoia that OPEC is in cahoots with George Bush and his oil cronies in devious activities to keep oil prices sky high despite a world supposedly awash in oil. He bases his arguments on his success as a successful commodities trader. He does not, however, base it on facts. He never addresses the belief held by most economists that cartels always eventually fail due to cheating. He never seriously considers that oil supplies may be peaking and that demand may be surging. For example, the IEA estimated last year that world oil demand would increase by 1%. Instead, it is increasing at 2%. That's 1.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I already stated my opinion as a reply to Dr Heinberg's criticism of the book. However I summarize my reply into a comment. Read morePublished on August 6, 2008 by Ronin Hoplite
I read for two reasons: entertainment and education. If a book fails
at achieving one of the two, then I consider it a waste of time. Read more
Learsy starts with the assumption that OPEC is responsible for high gas prices. That would be true, except for two facts: 1)OPEC currently only produces about 42% of the world's... Read morePublished on December 24, 2005 by Loyd Eskildson
Learsy was touting his book on C-Span last night. He did not present any scientific evidence for his opinions. Read morePublished on December 19, 2005 by R. Wilson
Finally, a book that debunks the myth that we are running out of oil. The author clearly and definitively proves the lies and deception wrought upon the world by OPEC and the oil... Read morePublished on October 2, 2005 by J. P. Laux
As a complete novice to the in's and out's of the oil market, I found Mr. Learsy's book, "Over a Barrel" an eye opening experience. Read morePublished on September 9, 2005 by timothy cahill