Exxon is the world's largest oil company. By some measures it's simply the world's largest company. The U.S. is the world's biggest military power, energy user and debtor nation. Together they think they can out-muscle a Latin American leader who may not even have the loyalty of his own military, a precarious position in most parts of the world.
It's clear the global energy markets are betting on Exxon and the U.S. Oil prices have not soared as Venezuela tries to retaliate for Exxon's lawsuits. Just today it became overt that Exxon has some powerful support. The U.S. State Department is backing Exxon. Duh.
It's not clear how much clout Venezuela's current government really has. Here's an interesting discussion. This piece also points out that larger and larger homes in America will necessarily keep the market for natural gas tight and prices rising over time. I live in a sixty-year old home that was just over 2,000 square feet when it was built, and it included an apartment. That's barely enough space for an economy town house in most new suburban developments these days. Homes are averaging greater and great floor space in recent construction. Even if the house now sits empty you can;tlet the pipes freeze. More space takes more energy of all kinds no matter how good the modern insulation is. Fifty years ago most homes had one TV set, now there are flat screens and TVs in several rooms of many American homes or apartments.
High energy prices have become central to the American economy. Retail sales numbers for January are seen as strong by Wall Street...but the rise in sales is largely due to autos and gasoline prices being higher. That's good news for those of you with green tech investments or projects. There is no indication of an energy price bubble. There used to be talk of a "new economic reality." In terms of energy supply and pricing we seem to have one. That will only fuel the growth and interest in green tech from "old" ideas like solar panels to innovation-seeking: electric cars to biofuels to low-energy materials such as new process wallboard.
It's clearly not his intention, but Venezuela's Chavez is helping green tech and alternative energy companies, perhaps he's even going to turn out to be good for the planet. Not sure he;s so good for his own country, however.