How much should gas cost?

With today’s news about the BP pipeline shutdown (which takes out 8% of US production), it strikes me that the California energy crisis was a small scale preview of the world oil market to come. When you have what’s essentially a necessity, and supplies are limited, then producers don’t have much reason to keep the spigots fully open. Enron and others apparently found it convenient to take generators down for maintenance, and electricity prices spiked.

What is to stop the big oil companies from doing the same thing as world oil production peaks? (Not to say that it’s what BP is doing now.) And the benefits will flow to all the companies. This is a dangerous game to play, of course, as sooner or later state action will occur; people make a lot of noise when the necessities get overly pricey!

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