Chalk up another U.S.-baiting member of OPEC with nuclear ambitions. In addition to Iran, which has become progressively more recalcitrant toward both the United States and Israel and clearly is developing nuclear weaponry, Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez closed out the weekend by proclaiming that his country will develop a nuclear reactor "for peaceful purposes."
Chavez, a Castro wannabe, last year removed half a dozen Western integrated oil companies from operating positions in his country's fertile Orinoco River basin. The companies included ExxonMobil
In addition, just this month, Chavez expelled the U.S. ambassador. And beyond that, he continues to threaten a cessation of Venezuelan oil exports to the U.S., which currently constitute about 10% of our nation's total imports.
Venezuela's efforts to build a nuclear reactor apparently will get an assist from Russia, which has taken renewed umbrage against the U.S. reaction to its recent incursion into Georgia. At the same time, in the past couple of years, Russia and Venezuela have reportedly signed a dozen arms contracts worth about $4.4 billion. Russia apparently has recently sent two long-range bombers and a nuclear cruiser to visit Venezuela and take part in war games.
In an address in New York before the U.N. last week, Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accused "a few bullying powers" of attempting to thwart his nation's nuclear program. He also said that the Zionist regime -- Israel -- is on a definite slope to collapse. And he observed that the American empire "is reaching the end of its road."
How does this all relate to the world of investing? Quite simply, despite a decline in crude prices in the face of concerns about a worldwide economic slowdown, Fools would be wise to remember that much of the world's crude is within geopolitically unstable nations, including Iran and Venezuela, along with such other vacation wonderlands as Nigeria, Kazakhstan, and Russia.
For that reason, it's awfully important that Fools not use lower commodity prices as a rationale for cutting their energy portfolios. Indeed, for my money, lots of value remains in oilfield services, including sector kingpin Schlumberger
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