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Intel Analyst: OPEC Still Calls The Shots, Even After Natural Gas Boom

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The former chief of the U.S. intelligence agency said Thursday the shale oil boom has done little to make the country independent from Saudi Arabia’s oil production, or other oil producing nations in the Middle East.

The former director of National Intelligence, Dennis Blair, told an audience at an energy security conference in Washington that “the American oil shale revolution has not fundamentally changed this dependence on other countries.”

The U.S. is still victim of the whims of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) oil producing policies, Blair said at the conference, which was hosted by Securing America’s Future Energy, a group composed of former military leaders that advocate for changes in U.S. energy policy, thereby helping the country break free of foreign oil.

OPEC still owns the lion share of the oil market.

Oil prices toppled about 3 percent at the end of April, for instance, as crude production from Saudi Arabia and other OPEC countries crept closer to all-time peaks and record speculative buying. The group’s oil production ratcheted up in April to 32.64 million barrels per day, a Reuters survey showed.

Even after the U.S. Congress freed up oil exports by lifting the oil export ban, analysts still caution OPEC and Saudi Arabia have an inflated presence in energy markets.

“I share the optimism about the potential positive role of these exports on our allies especially in Europe,” Richard D. Kauzlarich, former U.S. ambassador to Azerbaijan, told The Daily Caller News Foundation in April. “Still, the traditional suppliers there — especially Russia — will not give up market share easily. Nor will Qatar and Norway. The consumers will benefit from lower gas prices but it is unclear which producers will be most competitive in a low-price gas market.”

Blair, for his part, mirrored Kauzlarich’s contention, adding that OPEC is chalk full of countries that do not respect the U.S.

“These are countries,” Blair said about the countries that comprise OPEC, “with governments that reject our values and very often wish us ill. And yet we still guarantee the security of places like the Middle East.”

He added: “There are two aircraft carriers there, tens of thousands of troops, right now, as we speak … And yet OPEC countries manipulate production to kill off our oil shale production.”

Blair, who is a member of the Securing America’s Future Energy, was talking up a new report recommending a number of policy changes for Congress. He says that for all of its successes, the natural gas boom has yet to reach its full potential because of OPEC’s manipulations.

The group has suggested creating a commission that burnishes free-market principles, which, Blair contends, will challenge OPEC’ stranglehold on oil markets.

Posted by The Daily Caller.

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