Oil expert: Three nations control prices

Image by flickr user Bryan BurkeImage by oil.jpg The Ineos Grangemouth petrochemical site in Scotland

At the South Carolina International Trade Conference, Michael J. Economides of the University of Houston had this to say: Iran, Russia, and Venezuela control oil prices. Oh, and ethanol is a scam.

He also points to China, who has seen massive increases in oil consumption in the past several years, though he says the other three others, what he calls "energy militant nations," who are really driving the current energy crisis. The Post and Courier reports:

Whenever the leader of Iran makes headlines because his country has enriched uranium, or when Venezuela throws political jabs at the U.S., the price of oil spikes, Economides noted.

Post-Soviet Russia, he said, controls oil prices and supplies across Europe. Vladimir Putin, Russia's prime minister and until recently its president, "has been able to do with oil and gas what communist leaders did with nuclear weapons," Economides said.

He also had this to say about ethanol, as per The Post and Courier article:

Economides described ethanol, a much-touted alternative "green" fuel, as "the biggest scam in the energy business of the last 100 years."

It takes so much raw product — in this case, corn — to produce a gallon of ethanol that it takes more energy to produce the fuel than the product provides, he said.

Besides this, Economides is known for his conservative ideas, as well as skepticism regarding human-induced climate change. As far as the future, he offered a fairly bleak portrait, saying that for the foreseeable future, we're pretty much stuck with oil, gas, and coal as our primary fuel sources.

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