The existential crisis for the world’s nuclear industry could hardly have come at a worse moment. The epicentre of the world’s oil supply is disturbingly close to its own systemic crisis as the Gulf erupts in conflict.
|Anthony Freda Illustration|
Libya’s civil war has cut global crude supply by 1.1m barrels per day (bpd), eroding Opec’s spare capacity to a wafer-thin margin of 2m bpd, if Goldman Sachs is correct.
Now events in the Gulf have turned dangerous after Saudi Arabia sent troops into Bahrain to help the Sunni monarchy crush largely Shi’ite dissent, risking a showdown with Iran.
Russia’s finance minister Alexei Kudrin warned on Wednesday that the confluence of events in Japan and the Mid-East could push oil to $200 a barrel in a “short-lived” spike, which would snuff out global recovery.
While there has been no loss of oil output in the Gulf so far, the violent crackdown in Manama on Wednesday left four people dead and risks inflaming the volatile geopolitics of the region. The rout of protesters encamped at the Pearl roundabout had echoes of China’s Tiananmen massacre.