On Mahmoud, Hugo and China's gas

A few recent thoughts from Michael Economides, a University of Houston Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering professor and one of our guest bloggers:
On the recent visit of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Venezuela he notes”

“The impunity of the Caracas meeting, its rhetoric and the lack of reaction from Washington speak volumes of the US President’s inclinations. We are not talking here about domestic disputes that honest and well meaning people may disagree over. We are talking about the very prestige, influence and power of the United States. At the least, Chavez feels safe to mouth his anti-Americanism which is the sole reason of his kinship with somebody like Ahmadinejad.”

And Economides also recently wrote on China’s natural gas shortage:

The root of the problem “is the natural gas price control by the government. To oil and gas industries, if there is no profit for their businesses, they then don’t have the resources and motivation to explore for more oil and gas reservoirs. The ongoing rough pricing negotiation for imported natural gas makes it hard for foreign gas to flow into the country.”

There was some discussing of raising the $6.25 per thousand cubic feet price cap on gas sold in the domestic market, Economides said, but in mid-November officials indicated that natural gas prices would not be increased in 2009 out of fear of angering consumers.
That seems like a common concern among Chinese officials, the fear of the masses.
A copy of Economides’ latest book, Energy, China’s Choke Point, showed up in the mail today. When I get a chance to read it I hope to do a Q&A with him, so stay tuned.