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Bellies and Barrels … and Why LA Should Take the Lead on Oil

LETTING GO OF OPEC - An army moves on its belly. Just ask Napoleon. The world moves on barrels. Just ask OPEC. It moves on barrels of oil. This applies most to Los Angeles-the car capital of the world. The fact we should have to ask OPEC anything flies in the face of common sense. Most of the OPEC countries hate us yet they are waxing fat thanks to the largess and dependency of the U.S. consumer.
I took a trip to Dubai and I was able to see this wealth first hand. Dubai is a city of the United Arab Emirates and while it does not have much oil it has emerged as a global city and a business hub.

The only edifice in the world that should be whispered in the same breath with the Taj Mahal is the Dubai International Airport. At the hotel the manager resembled a poised Denzel Washington dressed in a $4,000 suit from London’s Saville Row.

We chatted for ten minutes and he occasionally dispatched directives to his staff in Tagalog, Hindustani, Arabic, and English. The hotel staff seemed to be Philippine and East African. Construction and other heavy lifting is done by workers from Bangladesh and Pakistan.

The hotel was the cat’s meow. By quick count, there were ten haute cuisine restaurants, business lounges, and leisure centers. The most delicious delicacies of baklava, figs, nuts, honey, and pastry were available on platters at every turn. I always thought the traditional dress resembled bed sheets but on closer inspection these must have gone for $2,000 to $3,000 each.

We import 400,000 barrels of oil a month from the world, of which, 150,000 is from OPEC. A lot of it moves through the Strait of Hormuz. This lifeline is now under extreme pressure with Iran rattling the sword. In addition Chavez of Venezuela is in the wings.

Proven oil reserves in the United States are 21 billion barrels, excluding the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. The U.S. Department of the Interior estimates the total volume of undiscovered, technically recoverable prospective resources in all areas of the United States at 134 billion barrels.

It is absurd that we continue supporting OPEC and the rest of the world as opposed to developing our own resources. This absurdity is highlighted by the ballyhoo over the Canadian pipeline.

Next go down to the beach and gaze over the bountiful oil reserves that lie beneath the sea. Look around at the many inland reserves that lie dormant including oil fields right here at La Cienega Blvd. and Stocker Ave.

Los Angeles should take the lead in reversing this absurd behavior because we mainline on barrels more than any other place in the world.

(Kay Martin is a writer and a new contributor to CityWatch. His years of travel and work included tours in Russia, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Australia, Hawaii, Latin America, and the Pacific.  He can be contacted at -cw

Tags: Los Angeles, oil, energy, Dubai, Taj Mahal, Strait of Hormuz, barrels, oil per barrel, oil drilling, US oil reserves, Los Angeles oil reserves

Vol 10 Issue 5
Pub: Jan 17, 2012