The G-7 nations are suddenly eager to see information on actual oil reserves in such countries as Saudi Arabia and Venezuela where state-owned oil companies dominate. A Saudi spokesman responded, "Data on reserves is information and information is power.'' Why give away that power? The spokesman apparently couldn't think of a good reason.
More important, however, is that fact that the G-7 is requesting reserve data for the first time ever so far as I can tell. Don't they believe that the marketplace will take care of imbalances in oil supply and demand? After years of low oil prices, are they afraid that OPEC has the upper hand? Or could they be looking for information about when a possible peak in world oil production might occur?
There's also a call to reduce "barriers to investment," codespeak for opening up state-owned oil lands to foreign oil companies who will have incentives to pump the oil more quickly than their state-run counterparts. For more on why private companies tend to produce more oil faster, see my post Faith-based economics III: Why the market price doesn't tell us the true state of oil reserves.
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