Recent exploration of sediment deep beneath the Artic Ocean has led geologists to estimate that approximately 1/4 of the worlds untapped oil and gas reserves are located there. After evaluating the impact of the news, the U. S. may seek membership in OPEC.
President Bush, smiling and joking with King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia at a press briefing in Nome, Alaska, stated, Since it looks like weve got about as much oil off Alaska as our good friend the King here has in the Saudi desert, it seems like a pretty good idea for America to consider membership in OPEC. The least you can say is, maybe then well have more influence on prices at the pump.
King Abdullah, who flew in to tour the newly oil-rich region with President Bush and Vice President Cheney, commented, Until now, I thought a country had to have a lot of sand to have oil. Now, I see it can also have a lot of snow. If America wants to join OPEC, we will be very happy to consider the application. But, of course, we only have one vote.
Reaction across the Middle East was not unmixed, even in Saudi Arabia. A member of the nations delegation to OPEC, speaking on condition of anonymity so he could remain in the employ of the King, cited Allahs usual ways to man in terms of the oil trade, saying, The eternal wisdom of Allah has provided that no part of the world is able to have more oil than Saudi Arabia. But our King likes to visit George Bush at his ranch in Crawford or wherever he is, so if we see enough gushers blacken the Artic Ocean, I suppose we will bring ourselves to consider U. S. membership.
The Iranian representative was, expectedly, evasive while definite. If the U. S. wants to join OPEC, we may say no or yes, never or maybe, later or now. There is, of course, more likelihood that we will say yes or maybe sooner if the U. S. agrees that our proud and progressive Islamic nation has the right to develop nuclear weapons for peaceful purposes.
When asked about possible opposition to U. S. membership in OPEC, President Bush made no maybes about his intentions, turning to the King first, and saying, Excuse me for saying this, but you how Im always forthright. Then he turned to the reporter, and stated, We have a backup plan. If the other nations who control OPEC vote against American membership, we intend to form an oil cartel with Canada, which, like our own state of Alaska, borders on the Artic Ocean. Greenland, which also has a presence there, has indicated interest in the cartel, which, by the way, weve given the working name of APEC, with the A standing for Artic. I also plan to invite Russia, which, as you know, borders on the other side of the Artic Ocean, to consider the benefits of membership in APEC.
Vice President Cheney, flashing his usual fleeting acidic smile at the King, took his turn at the skillful conduct of international relations, adding, Its quite a relief to know weve got as much oil up north as we do, and frankly, I kind of like the idea of APEC. So just let me say that, with all due deference to the King, the choice for OPEC is clear. Its their cartel or ours.
Environmentalists were widely distressed. A leading researcher of the multinational team that extracted the deep cores which indicated the vast reserves said, Its disheartening to think that our discovery of how much oil and gas lie under the Artic has led to a desire to extract it. I would have thought everyone would just appreciate the wisdom of leaving it there. Now, I shudder to think how much the combustion of the reserves will contribute to global warming, which, unfortunately, will make it even easier to pump out the oil, since there wont be any ice left to get in the way.
Eskimos generally applauded the news, with many expressing an eagerness to trade in their traditional garb for Arabian dress. One Eskimo confided, If you want to know the truth, I like global warming. Weve had it cold long enough.
Everyday Americans at the pump were ecstatic about the prospects of a domestic oil glut. Wow, just think, an American SUV driver, who was at a gas station pumping out his wallet, said, if the U. S. is part of OPEC or forms its own cartel, I might even be able to keep my gas guzzler.