Imagine There's No Opec
Your article "A princely power struggle could shake the House of Saud" (International Outlook, Dec. 25) states that Saudi Arabia "holds sway over more than 25% of the planet's oil reserves." Another BUSINESS WEEK article, "Congratulations--You struck sand" (Science & Technology, Dec. 18) states that "Alberta's oil sands contain up to a third of the world's known petroleum resources, far more than in Venezuela and elsewhere." This new math just does not add up.
Kidding aside, just imagine the repercussions for the U.S. when Alberta, a close neighbor, and Venezuela, a stable, longtime friend of the U.S., control the oil industry through their huge reserves. Saudi Arabia will be relegated to becoming a bit player--so it won't be too important if the Islamic fundamentalists take it over. OPEC will be powerless as an oil cartel. One of your futurologists should write about this.
Editor's note: The estimate of Saudi Arabia's share of world oil reserves did not include such synthetic fuels as oil sands and oil shale.