The recent discovery of new oil reserves in the Gulf of Mexico was the perfect excuse for CNN’s Jack Cafferty to revisit his election-year conspiracy theory. But when the September 9 “In the Money” aired, the program’s panelists talked to an oil analyst about the future of oil and gas prices, leaving out the idea of a Big Oil-GOP axis of petrol.
“You know, if you were a real cynic, you could also wonder if the oil companies might not be pulling the price of gas down to help the Republicans get re-elected in the midterm elections a couple of months away,” Cafferty suggested on the August 30 “Situation Room,” just five days before the Chevron (NYSE: CVX) oil discovery.
Cafferty, prompted by panelist Jennifer Westhoven, repeated the allegation on the September 2 “In the Money.” “Certainly the thought had crossed my mind. I mean, the oil companies have a vested interest in seeing that the Republicans remain in control of the federal government,” he remarked.
“They wouldn't pull prices down before the mid-terms now, would they?” he added over laughter from his fellow panelists.
With Cafferty absent from the September 9 “In the Money,” neither substitute host Andy Serwer or program panelist Allen Wastler raised Cafferty’s theory when interviewing oil analyst Fadel Gheit.
“I guess the big question,” Serwer asked Gheit, is “where does gasoline go from here,” adding that it is “what Americans are most concerned about.”
Gheit replied that “gasoline prices will likely reflect the oil prices, which have been coming down.” While Gheit added that he doesn’t think the price will fall to $2 a gallon, he linked lower gas prices with lower crude oil prices. Lower crude prices, he added, have resulted from a lessening of global political tensions.
By the same token, he said geopolitical problems in the future could drive prices up again, though “all of these things are temporary; they are not going to be here for the long haul.”
Serwer later prompted Gheit to give his opinion about the new Gulf of Mexico oil find. Noting that he was reading “Twilight in the Desert” by Matthew Simmons, “one of these peak oil guys,” Serwer asked for Gheit’s opinion on the notion that the oil industry has hit its peak of oil production. Simmons claims “we have reached peak oil production in the world and it is all downhill from now,” Serwer noted. “Does this discovery in the Gulf suggest that that’s not true at all?” he asked.
“Guess what, it is time [for that theory] to be dead by now,” Gheit said, noting that the theory was popular 25 years ago and didn’t live up to its dire predictions then.
“It’s a good headline grabber, it’s an interesting discussion in a cocktail party, but doesn’t hold water,” he asserted.