A Symbol Of Oil's Problems: Indonesia Leaves OPEC

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Indonesia would probably like to remain a member of OPEC, but it is pointless. The country is no longer a net exporter of oil. Needs within the country’s growing infrastructure and increasing use of cars and trucks are keeping more and more crude use "in country". So, Indonesia will leave OPEC this year.

Indonesia has also done next to nothing to upgrade its oil drilling and refining facilities. That is almost certainly short-sighted, but the country does not have the political and business organizations to solve the problems.

Call it a microcosm. As crude us increases in countries which have been exporters and fields age or go unexploited due to financial problems, oil for sale becomes more scarce.

The watch is now on for which country will lose its "net exporter" status next. If Mexico is not willing to spend a good deal more on production and exploration and its population continues to use more crude by the day, it may hit the tipping point. A significant political event in Venezuela or Nigeria could rob them of their status as suppliers, if only for a brief period.

If, one by one, the world’s nations use more oil than they drill, Santa will have to put coal in everyone’s stockings.

Douglas A. McIntyre