Though there are many admirable people working in the oil and gas industry, the global enterprise of extracting hydrocarbons has a long history that continues to present in which incredible sums of money are concentrated into the hands of unsavory people. The world’s banking industry often holds its collective nose and continues dealing with the despicable because they claim ownership of large quantities of cash that should be more widely distributed to the legitimate owners of the places where resources have been extracted.
Researchers from Ida Tarbell to Daniel Yergin to Robert Baer have been documenting similar types of behavior for more than 100 years. Global Witness continues to probe the oil and gas industry and to advocate transparency rules that seek to reduce the negative effects of what it calls the resource curse.
With a questioning attitude, it is not a difficult leap to imagine that some of the ill-gotten gains from extracting oil and gas have been spent in an effort to discourage competition from nuclear energy because of its proven ability to increase the world’s accessible energy supply, reduce the market power of fossil fuel suppliers, and create a long term weakness in world energy market prices. (A case can be made that low oil and gas prices from 1986 through 2000 were strongly influenced by the construction of enough nuclear power plants between 1963 and 1983 to eventually inject the equivalent of 12 million barrels of oil per day into the world market.)