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The United States should delay extracting oil and natural gas from the ground until supplies in the Middle East run low, forcing countries who were previously our suppliers to pay a premium for American energy products, according to Berkshire Hathaway’s Vice Chairman, Charlie Munger.
“I wish we weren't producing all this natural gas, I'd be delighted to just have it lie there untapped for decades in the future and have the Arabs pay extra once they use up their oil,” he said on CNBC this week. “Nobody else in America seems to feel my way, but I believe in deferred gratification, I don't think hastening to use our oil and gas is a good idea; I don't see any advantage.”
The strategy is in stark contrast to the philosophies of major American energy companies as well as newly inaugurated President Donald Trump, who campaigned on making the U.S. energy independent by ramping up fossil fuel production and creating the jobs demanded by his base in the process.
Critics of American foreign policy say the U.S.’ hunger for energy played a role in encouraging the country’s political entanglements in the Middle East. Reaching energy independence would supposedly free leaders from the economic risks of intervening or stepping back from conflicts in the region, according to proponents of energy independence.
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Trump’s push to disassociate the U.S. from oil imports from Saudi Arabia, the de facto leader of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), has led the kingdom to warn of a turbulent economic outcome for the rest of the world.
“At his heart President-elect Trump will see the benefits and I think the oil industry will also be advising him accordingly that blocking trade in any product is not healthy,” Khalid al-Falih, chairman of Aramco and Saudi Aramco Oil Minister, told the Financial Times in Marrakesh during the United Nations-led talks on climate change in November.
By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com
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Zainab Calcuttawala is an American journalist based in Morocco. She completed her undergraduate coursework at the University of Texas at Austin (Hook’em) and reports on…