THE International Energy Agency has predicted that oil demand is set to leap beyond the capacity to supply, sending oil prices soaring well beyond the current $74 a barrel, and to levels of over $100 a barrel.
There is no doubt that this critical situation for world capitalism will deepen the worldwide slump, and see the bankrupting of leading companies and financial institutions as well as sharpening the contradictions between the imperialist powers, and between them and the major oil and gas producing states.
This developing situation has already produced the Iraq war and last week’s admission by the Australian government that it had been, and was still, engaging in a war to secure Australia’s oil supplies, and would have to look at any possible withdrawal from Iraq with that ‘defence’ very much on its mind.
It is also oil and gas interests that are behind the hostility of the US and the UK governments to the Iranian regime, with war as an option ‘permanently on the table’.
However, the contradictions between the imperialist powers and the workers and oppressed nations of the world are set to sharpen extraordinarily.
The IEA presents the issue as gas and oil prices about to soar as a direct result of China and India, plus a number of newly industrialised countries, being determined to take a considerable share of the oil market.
However, the class contradictions between the bosses and bankers, and the working class and the middle class in the major capitalist states will also sharpen in the most revolutionary fashion.
Higher oil prices will bring higher petrol prices, and higher fuel and food bills.
This will be in a period when the bankers and their governments are determined to drive wages and living standards downwards, and where the working class and the masses will respond with an even greater determination to resist all of the attacks on their jobs and wages and basic rights, with mass strikes and revolutionary actions.
In an added twist the IEA sees gas market prices escalating as supply lags behind demand leaving power dangerously in the hands of countries such as Russia and Iran.
The IEA sees oil demand soaring to 96 million barrels a day in 2012 from the 82 million barrels of today.
OPEC’s supply however is set to fall, according to the IEA, by two million barrels a day by 2009.
The IEA also warned about the dangers of what it termed as ‘energy nationalism’, by governments such as Russia, Iran and Venezuela.
It is clear that the contradictions of the capitalist system between the needs of the productive forces to develop and the huge barriers of the private ownership of the means of production and the nation state are reaching the point of revolutionary explosion.
In Iraq we have seen the contradictions of the economic crisis of capitalism leading to genocidal imperialist war and now to revolution, with the most powerful imperialist armed forces unable to carry out their required tasks, thanks to the revolutionary movement of the masses, whose struggle has led to the downfall of the Bush and Blair regimes in the West.
This class struggle is now set to explode in the metropolitan capitalist countries, as the working class leads the masses to defend all of the gains of the last 50 years now threatened by the collapses of the capitalist system.
The decisive question of the hour is the development of the revolutionary leadership of the Fourth International and its British section, the Workers Revolutionary Party, to lead the developing world socialist revolution to its victory.