On Dictators and Oil Reserves

Parade Magazine, the little weekly the Chronicle includes in its Sunday editions, recently put out its annual list of leading world dictators. While it doesn’t get the kind of attention People Magazine’s annual “Sexiest Man/Woman Alive” list gets (sorry, you’ll have to dig up that link on your own), Allen Brooks, a managing partner at Houston investment bank Parks Paton Hoepfl & Brown points out in a recent newsletter why the average person should care:

Seven of the top 10 dictators rule countries that are important focal points for the global oil industry. Half of the dictators on the top 20 list rule countries with meaningful oil and gas reserves.
In fact these dictators oversee countries that contain 45% of the world’s estimated proved oil reserves according to the 2006 BP Statistical Survey. These countries control about 40% of the world’s production based on the BP data and some additional data from the CIA.

This is nothing new in the oil and gas business — E&P companies have been working in tough conditions for many, many years. And it’s pretty common for Houstonians to be part of the story when you hear of a worker being kidnapped off an oil platform in some troubled region or a company struggling to get access to prospects it believes it has rights to.