Gas-purchasing Americans are an unknowing part of a real-life soap opera. With a cast of abjectly narcissistic and unswervingly greedy oil producing families, along with somewhat parasitic and coat-tailing politicians, today’s serial soap is reminiscent of the 1980s hit series “Dallas.” But today’s soap opera is not fiction. It’s real. And the “Gas Price Soap Opera” presents a new episode almost as often as we visit the local gas station for a fill up.
The next episode is set for Sunday, April 17, in Doha, Qatar.
If you can perhaps expand your definition of serial entertainment for just a moment to include twisted intrigue, consider the cast of characters in this dysfunctional business effort:
- The ruling royal family of Saudi Arabia, who own oil production in the country, are incredibly wealthy, and have shown themselves very adept at controlling worldwide oil supply whenever any other oil producers deign to act independently
- Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the 30-year-old son of Saudi King Salman. Bin Salman has signaled to the world that he’s considering making Saudi Arabia’s oil production business a publicly-traded company. He’s now popular among the youth and has the ear of almost anyone whose living depends on oil
- American politicians, who have almost nothing whatsoever to do with the rise, or drop, of gas prices, but who are always eager to take credit for the job-creating benefits of high prices while blaming their political opponents for the negatives of high prices themselves
- Other nations in “OPEC” (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) which, although lacking the influence of the Saudi family’s state-owned oil business, wish they had more influence and often will resort to nasty efforts to try to assert more control.
- Iran. Iran is an oil producing country, so they have always been a prominent cast member. But the Obama Administration’s recent decision to loosen economic sanctions, imposed during the infamous 1979 Iranian religious hardline takeover of the American embassy in Tehran, has infused Iran with fresh cash. So this cast member has become much bolder than in previous episodes.
Almost all of the cast members will be in Doha, Qatar Sunday, April 17, for a meeting to try to decide whether they will continue to control the world gas market by flooding it with cheap oil, or freeze oil supplies to exert more control over bigger profits. Iran will not be in Sunday’s Doha episode, however. With large sums of fresh cash thanks to the American deal, they are going to pursue a more independent oil-producing approach. Their lack of presence in Doha makes them a big part of this episode.
No matter how much you pay for your next tank fill-up, your willingness to take perhaps a more twisted look at the entertainment value of 2016 global oil production may just help ameliorate the utter lack of control you have in the price of that fill-up.