Make the frack­ing most of cheap petrol prices

Midweek Sport - - NEWS -

MIL­LIONS of us are en­joy­ing the very wel­come cheaper prices at the petrol pump.

All in­di­ca­tions are this will con­tinue for at least another five months, so fill your boots – and your tanks – while you can.

Plum­met­ing fuel prices are some­thing we sim­ply didn’t ex­pect to hap­pen – not in an age where apart from su­per­mar­ket wars over the cost of beans, ev­ery­thing al­ways, AL­WAYS goes up.

But what has sparked th­ese sav­ings? How come we no longer need take out a small mort­gage just to power our mo­tors to work and back?

The Saudis are the main pro­tag­o­nists. With an es­ti­mated £400bn in bank re­serves, they can well af­ford to push prices lower, even though it costs them money.

It’s a neat way of scar­ing the liv­ing day­lights out of Rus­sia, for starters.

Vladimir Putin might not give a toss about sanc­tions, but chop his na­tion’s main source of in­come in half and the Great Bear re­ally does get into trou­ble.

While Putin’s rou­ble falls through the floor, Venezuela – also among the world’s big­ger oil pro­duc­ers – faces a sim­i­lar eco­nomic cri­sis.

It costs about 70p to fill up a TANK in Cara­cus be­cause the Gov­ern­ment sub­sidises petrol for its woe­fully paid pop­u­la­tion.

But like Rus­sia, the price it sells to the rest of the world has fallen mas­sively and it was al­ready feel­ing the pinch be­fore oil prices fell.

So why are th­ese oil-rich coun­tries en­gaged in a race to the bot­tom de­spite the eco­nomic pain it’s bring­ing upon them­selves?

Don’t be sur­prised to learn it’s NOT be­cause they want to save you money.

No, it’s be­cause there’s a new kid on the block threat­en­ing their very fu­tures – which is why they’re pre­pared to take such a hit on their oil now in re­turn for riches later.

That spotty new kid caus­ing trou­ble for the tra­di­tional oil­pro­duc­ing coun­tries is known as Hy­draulic Frac­tur­ing – or frack­ing.

The huge growth of shale oil and gas ex­trac­tion plants across north Amer­ica is scar­ing the crap out of the men in white robes and Gucci sunglasses – so they’re us­ing their fi­nan­cial mus­cle to push prices down, ham­per­ing in­vest­ment in the frack­ing in­dus­try and there­fore pro­duc­tion.

Many will say this is a good thing, and they may well be right.

But as I’ve said be­fore, not hav­ing a ge­ol­ogy de­gree means I tend to leave th­ese things to the ex­perts.

Frack­ing ev­i­dently has its ups and downs, but con­ven­tional oil wells still aren’t 100 per cent safe, nu­clear has had its prob­lems and wind tur­bines just don’t work.

Yet we all need power to keep the in­ter­net on so we can moan about “the man”, don’t we?

When – not if – petrol prices hur­tle back up again and it costs twice as much to drive to protest out­side a frack­ing site, maybe ask your­self who you’re do­ing it for – Mother Earth, or a multi-bil­lion­aire sheikh?

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