There's a scene in the latest James Bond movie, "Quantum of Solace," where MI6 director "M," played by Judi Dench, is being chewed out by her superior the Foreign Minister, played by Tim Pigott-Smith. When arguing about doing business in order to gain access to oil reserves, M asks if it's a wise idea to ally with people who operate in unethical ways. The Foreign Minister responds that with the U.S. and China carving up what's left of the world's supplies and Russia not playing ball, "... right and wrong don't come into it, we're acting out of necessity!" That gave me pause. Right and wrong don't come into consideration when you act out of necessity. If that's true, the world is in a lot of trouble. The movie goes on to show a situation where Bolivia is being forced into an artificial drought because of corporate control of water rights, which sadly might have been ripped from the headlines following the real life actions of Bechtel in the company in the 1990s. The company was given private water rights in the country, leading to obscene regulations that could have led to citizens being forced to buy a license from the government in order to collect rainwater. Water is of course a basic human requirement, which makes complete private control of a necessity such as that very questionable. But oil is a bit trickier. Human beings could, and have for thousands of years, lived without oil and gas. But unlike water, it's a non-renewable natural resource. Well, yeah, it is, if you don't mind waiting around for a million years or so. But I digress. My point here is that in order to have access to oil, geopolitics unfortunately requires politicians to have a sort of flexible morality when it comes to from where we import our energy. I would love to tell Hugo Chavez to stick his oil where the sun don't shine, but that's not a realistic move. I would love to tell the Russians to stop playing God with Eastern Europe’s gas supplies, but I lack the abilities to make that so. And let's not even get started on that perfect replica of Medieval village that we like to call the Middle East. Until we find a more viable source of energy, it seems that we're going to have to continue to do business with disreputable business partners. So the James Bond movie got it right: we're acting out of necessity here. –Stephen Payne, Editor, Oil and Gas Investor This Week; www.OilandGasInvestor.com; email@example.com
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