Malaysia has increased fuel prices by 40%. For a developing country, the ordinary people will be hit a lot harder.
Speculating on oil is morally and ethically wrong. It takes away money from poor people and line them up into pockets of selected few. Where are those human right activists , Western NGOs and condescending media when we need them ?
By WONG SAI WAN
ISTANBUL: There is no shortage of oil in the world and its present price level was driven up by unreal speculation, said Malaysia Airlines managing director and chief executive Datuk Seri Idris Jala.
He said the present oil price at over US$135 was unrealistic and based on certain global events that might have caused a shortage of supply.
“These people (speculators and hedge funds) buy oil futures and say that this or that event may cause an oil shortage.
“Not very long after this, people react to this and by then the message would be ‘there is a shortage of supply’ even though there is none,” Idris told the international media here at the close of the 64th International Air Transport Association annual general meeting.
IATA, which is an association of legacy full service airlines with over 200 members, had issued a statement at the end of its meeting that the industry was now in a state of an emergency because of the fuel price crisis.
Idris was a former senior executive with Shell Plc based in London and the Hague for almost 20 years. While there, he had headed various departments, including business development.
Speaking as a former oilman, Idris said there were two ways to see whether there was an oil shortage.
“First, look at the oil tankers at sea. If they are not moving and just floating out at sea, that means they have no crude or processed oil to transport. That is not happening and that means there is no shortage.
“Second, go to the petrol stations. If there are long queues, that means there is a shortage. Again, this is not happening and this can only mean there is more than enough supply.
“As an ex-oilman, I tell you there is no shortage.”
Idris pointed out that certain analysts and financial companies that produced reports about the shortage were also oil futures traders.
Asked what he thought was the fair value of crude oil at present, Idris replied: “US$40.”
He also criticised speculators and hedge funds, saying that he did not trust anything that he could not touch.
“I always believe in the brick and mortar – something I can touch. These people are trading with nothing.
“Many years ago, we at Shell had wanted to buy Enron. I was leading the team then and we hired over 60 consultants to study how a company with no oil fields, refineries or gas stations could make so much money.
“One of the consultants tried to convince me to recommend to the Shell bosses to buy Enron but I said no because I could not touch what they were trading in,” Idris said in the one-hour briefing for the media about MAS’ performance and future.
He only expressed his opinion on the oil crisis after being asked by several journalists.
Idris was proven right on Enron because the so-called energy company collapsed four years ago under massive accounting fraud.