This is Just a Foretaste
Because it's not like the rest of the world won't buy. Just imagine what would happen if enough OPEC members decided that it's not "profitable" enough to keep the supply to the US flowing, and instead focused on developing other markets instead:
UL. 12 11:41 A.M. ET Venezuela-owned Citgo Petroleum Corp. has decided to stop selling gasoline at some 1,800 stations in the United States following calls by President Hugo Chavez to nix contracts that benefit U.S. consumers more than Venezuelans.
Citgo, which is wholly owned by Venezuela's state oil company, currently has to purchase 130,000 barrels a day from other refining companies to meet its service contracts at 13,100 stations across the U.S.
The Houston-based company has decided to sell only the 750,000 barrels a day that it produces at three U.S. refineries in Lake Charles, Louisiana, Corpus Christi, Texas, and Lemont, Illinois, according to a statement late Tuesday.
That will mean that over the next year Citgo will withdraw completely from 10 states and stop supplying some stations in four additional states, Citgo spokesman Fernando Garay said Wednesday.
Chavez has long claimed that parts of Citgo's business produce losses for Venezuela and constitute a subsidy for the U.S. economy.
Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez has also charged that Citgo isn't profitable enough and that its parent, state-owned Petroleos de Venezuela SA, or PDVSA, could at some point sell off some of the company's refineries.
However, in a sign of the apparently lucrative relationship between the two companies, PDVSA announced Wednesday that it has earned US$400 million (euro314.42 million) in dividends so far this year from Citgo.
Garay said Citgo was not looking to sell any assets at present and the changes only affected service contracts with gas stations.
The states where Citgo will stop selling gasoline are: Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma and South Dakota. A limited number of stations in Illinois, Texas, Arkansas and Iowa will also be affected.
Venezuela is the world's fifth-largest oil exporter and the U.S. is its top buyer. The United States relied on Venezuela for about 11 percent of its oil supply in 2005.
Yup, those little brown people down south don't want to pay for your SUV trips to Wal-Mart anymore! Imagine that.
I seriously wonder if we still have the clout, even given Confessions of an Economic Hitman tactics, to keep more and more nations from doing this in the long run.