It’s not just OPEC’s state-run price dictation that drives us towards $100 a barrel. From the Jimmy Carter gas lines through today, always remember that shortages and price wars occur because so little of the world’s oil supply, in and beyond the Middle East, is privatized under free-market economies.

Vikram Singh Mehta writes in the Times of India:

OPEC accounts for 40% of total oil production but its decisions continue to determine the real and psychological underpinnings of the market. Second, the strength of the national oil companies. They own 80% of the world’s hydrocarbon reserves. A rank ordering of the top 20 companies by reserves would show that the top 15 positions are occupied by state-owned companies like ARAMCO (Saudi Arabia), GAZPROM ( Russia), ADNOC (Abu Dhabi), etc. The last 4-5 slots would be held by publicly listed private companies (Exxon-Mobil, Shell, Chevron, etc).