Anas Alhajji is among the world’s top oil market analysts as well as the editorial advisor of Attaqa, the first Arabic-language energy media and research platform. In this episode, Robert talks with Alhajji about the future of oil, why the U.S. is not energy independent, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and why the shale revolution, as he put it, “flipped everything upside down.”

Episode Transcript

Robert Bryce  0:05  

Hi, and welcome to the power hungry podcast. I’m Robert Bryce. Glad to have you with us. today. This podcast we talk about energy, power, innovation and politics. And my guest, I’m happy to say is my longtime friend, and also Alhaji Dr. Alhaji Welcome to the power hungry podcast.

Anas Alhajji  0:21  

Thank you very much. I’m really honored to be on the podcast.

Robert Bryce  0:25  

So and also, you’re an oil market expert, you have a lot of history, a lot of experience in this market. I like to let my guests introduce themselves. So if you don’t mind, please, by all means, give us a quick introduction.

Anas Alhajji  0:39  

Sure, let me start from the recent things here, I wear several hats. And some of them basically being an investor, others basically being a researcher, and advisor. And the third one basically is being the editorial advisor, or the the to the ataka. The one you mentioned, before that I was the chief economist for one of the premier, private equity firms that focused on energy, which is a natural gas partners, or NGP, are known as MGP. Before that, I was in academia, and I taught various courses in energy, economics, international trade and economics at the University of Oklahoma, Colorado School of Mines, Ohio, Northern University. So briefly, that’s what it is, of course, as you might know, that I’ve been indicated in various countries around the world, including Saudi Arabia.

Robert Bryce  1:45  

Great, thanks. So I’ve done Now, a couple dozen podcasts. I’ve had many, we’re where we talked about nuclear energy, we’ve talked about natural gas, we haven’t talked much about the oil market. And the oil market has been rocked in the last year or two, like it hasn’t been rocked in decades, I would argue. So tell me, just briefly, I want to start with this idea. Because there’s been a lot of talk, of course, about electric vehicles about the growth in E V’s and that, in fact, there was one analyst and I wrote a piece about this recently, where he said combustion is dead, and that we’re not going to need the internal combustion engine anymore. We’re going to go into the post oil economy, oil demand is going to get a fall. And essentially, the oil sector is going to go out of business. Is that correct? Tell me Tell me, you you’ve looked at

Unknown Speaker  2:37  

this. Is the problem.

Robert Bryce  2:40  

is oil going to stick around? Or is it or is it going? Generally

Unknown Speaker  2:42  

speaking, most of the people who are saying that oil is dead, they are not in the oil business. And they don’t know much about the oil business. They are from the other side. And therefore, they look at the growth in electric vehicles. And they say that, but I can tell you that there is a big problem in the calculations of the impact of electric vehicles on oil demand. There are several problems. And I don’t know whether we are going to have enough time today to talk about all of them. But I will mention some,

Robert Bryce  3:15  

but just let’s just and all. Yes, if you don’t mind, just just focus on the demand part of this because various estimates on if we have so

Unknown Speaker  3:22  

the demand wishes, yes. So the impact on the demand budget is coming from the growth in the number of electric vehicles. I am not disputing the number. In fact, in my model, I’m expecting a higher number than anyone else in the industry by 2050. This is not the issue. The issue is the impact. Right now, if you look at the 234 organizations that do forecasts for EBS and their impact on the oil market, they are let me give you this example. This is through example, if buses in LA switch to EBS, some reports are saying that will reduce oil demand by 60,000 barrels a day. And that’s in the reports today, you see it that is 60,000 barrels a day. It is the problem buses in LA run on cng. And they are switching from cng to electric vehicles

Robert Bryce  4:20  

compressed natural gas to vehicles. Okay, correct.

Unknown Speaker  4:23  

So there are in China, where the biggest change is happening in the biggest city and the biggest state in the art of switching some of it from natural gas and LNG to electric but that counting all of that as oil.

Robert Bryce  4:41  

I see. So it’s not and so part of this idea that oil is going to be displaced is misguided because they’re actually there’s transport, a lot of transport running on on gaseous fuel, cng LNG, or even methanol I guess methanol is transportation in China as well.

Unknown Speaker  4:56  

So if you recall years ago, you and I were talking about the role of Natural Gas when we’re talking about the late to T. Boone Pickens, remember he was talking about natural gas. And we had a lot of talk you and I on this tour in 2008, probably in 2008. All our forecasts basically, were about how natural gas is going to take over oil. And we made those forecasts to 2014. At that time, and we counted for that natural gas. Okay. Okay. Now that outlook basically is gone. And electric vehicles are replacing natural gas in the outlook. I see. So we have two issues here we have that they are counting cng as oil. And then in the outlook, they are counting the replacement of gas as oil.

Robert Bryce  5:44  

I see. Well, so let me see. Let me interrupt because I want you to put a point on this. So you said you’re forecasting a very rapid growth in Eevee. So run the numbers here, then we’re using roughly the for the pandemic, we were consuming about 100 million barrels of oil per day, we’re now at 90 some odd million. What if we, if we if we see a major increase in EBS globally in the 10s, or hundreds of millions of vehicles, what does that mean to oil? What does it mean to oil demand? And what Where are we? Where are we going?

Unknown Speaker  6:16  

Those people who are listening to this podcast are going to see it on YouTube, they are going to be stunned by the statement I’m going to make. Okay, I’m ready. If we go before 100 million barrels a day in 2019. Say, okay, when oil demand is going to go back to 100 million in the future? Uh huh. Well, the model basically shows the following that we can reach. So demand will go up, and then it will decline back to 100 by 2050. But to do that, I need 700 million electric vehicles on the road. 700 million on the road by 2050. I have only 11 right now.

Robert Bryce  7:08  

There. Okay, so 11, there are 11 million electric vehicles today on the road. Roughly roughly. Okay. That’s

Unknown Speaker  7:17  

to keep oil demand at 100. Which is the 2019 level that you alluded to, yeah, I need 700 million vehicles, electric vehicles on the road by 2050. So I’m not questioning whether we will have them or not. I’m just explaining to people, what is the impact on the market. So by 2050, despite this outrageous number of 700 million, the demand for crude and others for all liquids, is going to be 100 million by 2050. Here is the shocking part, to produce 100 million by 2050. Starting today, to produce 100 million by 2050, all that oil has to be a fresh oil.

Robert Bryce  8:06  

Because of the depletion of existing oil,

Unknown Speaker  8:08  

absolutely. Which means that I still need trillions of dollars to meet the oil demand by 2050, despite the outrageous growth and electric vehicles. Okay, so

Robert Bryce  8:21  

if I understand that, I’m going to interrupt here, because I want to make sure I get this. What you’re projecting and and is that due to increasing prosperity around the world, increasing transportation demand, that even if we have 700 million new electric vehicles on the road by 2050, global oil demand will still be well, it will still be at roughly today’s levels. Is that is

Unknown Speaker  8:46  

that 2019 level?

Robert Bryce  8:47  

Yeah, or 100 million barrels a day. Yeah. In those rough terms. So yeah, the punch line, if I hear you saying this, right, is that for all the talk about the oil demand is not going away?

Unknown Speaker  8:58  

Absolutely. Not only that, basically, I want to give you another example. So the audience basically can realize what’s going on those who are counting the impact of electric vehicles on oil, they are assuming a barrel of gasoline equals a barrel of crude oil. Which is as you know, not true. Absolutely. So as you know what when we boil that crude oil, it expands so the volume expands.

Robert Bryce  9:29  

So we get 40 to get we are 42 gallons in the barrel, but we get more than 42 gallons or products out of the barrel.

Unknown Speaker  9:35  


Robert Bryce  9:36  

And so not all of that 42 plus gallons is gasoline, some of its kerosene some correct so when

Unknown Speaker  9:41  

they walk it to back when they walk it to back from gasoline or diesel, to crude, the amount there are four caching basically shrinks. Sure, if they say for example, we can replace 30 million barrels a day by 2040. It’s not really technically it’s probably about 10.5

Robert Bryce  10:02  

Okay, I’m sorry, repeat that I didn’t quite follow you there.

Unknown Speaker  10:05  

So if they say we are going to lose or demand is global or demand is going to be reduced by 13 million barrels a day because of EBS by 2040, technically speaking, it means about 10 to two, point 10 10.5. Because you have to take it back to the refinery and take it back to crude.

Robert Bryce  10:24  

I see. Okay,

Unknown Speaker  10:25  

so that’s another exaggeration, we have in the estimation of the impact of ease. And the last point I would like to mention here is we really need to define what is an electric vehicle? Because I looked at some forecasts, and some numbers and some estimates, it seems that in some cases, they are counting something like electric motorcycles as cars

Robert Bryce  10:55  

instead of Yeah, instead of right, instead of automobiles, or medium or heavy duty trucks. All

Unknown Speaker  11:00  

right. And now we have cars that the What do they call in India and Pakistan America show? Basically, the three wheelers, right, are being counted in those

Robert Bryce  11:10  

and they’re elected, their fuel consumption of liquid fuel would have been very small to begin with.

Unknown Speaker  11:15  

Absolutely. So that’s another point. I’m glad you mentioned that, because what we are replacing right now is the most efficient vehicles. We are not replacing the, the my, my Toyota Tundra.

Robert Bryce  11:29  

Right, right. And that’s where a lot of the transportation fuel goes in the United States is in heavy transport, right, heavy trucks, if memory serves something like 17 or 20%. I mean, it’s a very large percentage of overall consumption in terms of liquid fuels. So let me let me shift gears here a little bit. Since we’re on transportation. Why is oil been so durable? I mean, for now, it’s been over 100 years since the days of Rockefeller Standard Oil. And why is this commodity? So why is it been so durable? Why is it so hard to replace? Why haven’t Why? Why didn’t electric vehicles take over 100 years ago?

Unknown Speaker  12:02  

Well, as you know, electric vehicles are about 40 years older than the gasoline engine, but 56 years to be exact. So electric vehicles basically are 56 years earlier than the first gasoline engine.

Robert Bryce  12:18  

So you’re saying 1830 is really

Unknown Speaker  12:21  

just 28 1828?

Robert Bryce  12:23  

No kidding, because the cycle was 1882. Right? The first time,

Unknown Speaker  12:27  

yes, 1828. And we have some pictures on our website, basically, to show them. And we have a big report on that. So 1828 is the first electric car. And and this is, of course, it worked for a while. Not only that, basically, if you look at the picture of the Chargers, basically, it’s an amazing, amazing picture to see the charger I wish we kind of like thought about it in advance, I would have showed it right now to the audience. But they have chargers, basically you can put in the corner of the garage or something and then charge the car from it. And that was I think we have a picture from 1912 a woman charging the car. And the reason why it’s a woman, because all historical record says that electric cars were very common among women at that time.

Robert Bryce  13:19  

Right, easy to start. But so but what is it about the commodity itself? What is this liquid that is so important that that we know for all this history, we’re still running effectively all global transportation, 90,

Unknown Speaker  13:31  

I think you alluded to some of it and one of your books on why is why it is durable. But people do not realize that with oil, we are able to ship it anywhere in the world, even if we want to take it to the South Pole and use it we can.

Robert Bryce  13:53  

So ease of transport.

Unknown Speaker  13:54  

Absolutely. And of course you mentioned in your book about the density, the power density of it, and what kind of energy you can get out of it and all this stuff. But there are other issues related to it that are important in this case. I can use it at any time at any temperature anywhere in the world.

Robert Bryce  14:18  

So this is the stability of the product ease of handling flexibility. This the utility is so great is that

Unknown Speaker  14:25  

absolutely, absolutely. And the other thing is, if you really if you have let’s say a barrel of oil and actual barrel of oil, I mean not all but let’s say diesel or fuel oil. It has multiple uses and john Gotti can use it for heating oil, you can use it for other things, etc. and but that’s not the case with electric motor motor for example. You cannot have that utility of it. But let’s go back to the peak peak demand because I think this is really the the most important point today that are people discussing. And I would like to focus on one idea that’s been ignored by researchers. Okay. If you look at the outlooks of the IAEA, the International Energy Agency Energy Agency obec, the oil producing exporting countries, and the oil majors, those who already predicted that demand peaked, or it’s going to almost peak. Let me start with the oil majors, the oil majors basically producible scenarios. And then they decide which scenario to make public. What’s the one they

Robert Bryce  15:48  

invest on? So they’ll have an internal projection and then one, that’s

Unknown Speaker  15:52  

public? Absolutely. Okay. So they are not going to give you their secrets. And therefore, I’m not going to waste time basically reading those outputs from the companies because that’s what they want to feed you. Okay, so they have no value in this case. Now, they are useful in another way, which is kind of you can discuss some of the ideas of, let’s say, the future of electric vehicles, for example, and focus on the idea itself, rather than on the numbers. Okay, so that’s an advantage to it. So that’s, so the outlooks for the oil companies basically are useless, the public ones,

Robert Bryce  16:28  

from Exxon Mobil BP,

Unknown Speaker  16:30  


Robert Bryce  16:30  

equinor. You don’t you don’t pay any attention to those? No,

Unknown Speaker  16:34  

because again, they chose to feed us that.

Unknown Speaker  16:37  


Unknown Speaker  16:38  

And we have some evidence historically to show that their their investment goes this way, and their outlook is this way. Okay. So if they were following that outlook, why did that investment did not follow?

Robert Bryce  16:51  

So you don’t believe that when shell and BP say now they’re going to be investing massive amounts of money in renewables? Because that’s what they’ve said recently.

Unknown Speaker  17:00  

So what they say on their plans to invest? I believe that what I don’t believe in the numbers in the outlook, okay. The numbers in the outlook basically, are just, they are not, they are useless to me. Okay. But when it comes to the IAEA and OPEC, we have a serious problem. The largest decline in demand in their views, has nothing to do with electric vehicles, or some people think the largest decline in demand is coming. And it’s going to sound really funny. It’s coming from the improvement in efficiency of the ice vehicle. No, I

Robert Bryce  17:45  

will I believe it I mean, into the internal combustion engine is just wrote this with today’s Ford EcoBoost, twice as efficient as the as the Model T massively more powerful. I mean, this is the trend in internal combustion engines now for a century right, smaller.

Unknown Speaker  17:59  

So So here’s the problem. Okay.

Unknown Speaker  18:01  

I’m ready.

Unknown Speaker  18:02  

The problem is, technology has already peaked. That’s why companies resorted to lighter metals. And

Robert Bryce  18:11  

the technology i’m sure i peaked in, in what is

Unknown Speaker  18:14  

that the engine technology and improving the efficiency of the engine itself?

Robert Bryce  18:19  

I see. So they can’t really they breached the limits of the thermal efficiency, but now they’re they’re going to hybrids, right, which is what

Unknown Speaker  18:26  

was before hybrid, they resorted to using lighter metals, because that can improve the efficiency after the engines,

Unknown Speaker  18:33  


Unknown Speaker  18:34  

But we reach a level where if you want to move to the lighter metal than what we have right now, cost might increase by 20 to 50%. Okay, and believe me, Ford will never do that. So surely I’m talking about Ford 150

Robert Bryce  18:49  

titanium instead of aluminum or C? Yes,

Unknown Speaker  18:51  

yes. Yes. So they’re not going to go for that. Okay, that’s number one. The second thing is make the cars smaller. We already made them smaller, but they cannot be smaller than our bodies. So weird is the limit on all of that. Okay, okay. Yet, they still expect for example, all demand between now and 2040 2045. In the next 25 years, with declined by eight to 12 million barrels a day, just on fuel efficiency of ice. I’m not talking about the electric vehicles. Okay. Okay.

Robert Bryce  19:25  

So you think that the forecasts are wrong? Because they’re overestimating the growth of efficiency? Well, here’s

Unknown Speaker  19:31  

the irony. Okay. The irony is, when you talk to them, I say, how did you get that? You know, the technology has already reached its limits. We have no new technology coming. We don’t see it in line. We already use the light metals that in an economic way, cars are already small enough now. So where that’s going to come from? The answer is another stunning point. OPEC and the IAEA takes the Plan have their members and government announcements as given. So if a European government says, I’m going to my objective is to improve the efficiency of ice by 40%, between now and 2040. They take that as given, and they put it into calculations.

Robert Bryce  20:22  

So the bottom line here is you’re just saying that these, okay, to paraphrase and correct me if I’m wrong, what you’re saying is that so many of these projections about the end of oil, and I’m compelled to, to, quote Zaki Amani, right, the former Saudi administer, Saudi oil minister said that, famously, the Stone Age didn’t end for lack of stones, the oil age will not come to an end, for lack of oil. So we’re not approaching the end of oil. Is that is

Unknown Speaker  20:50  

that what No, well, okay, well, I’m not approaching the end of oil on the supply side, and we are not approaching the end of the demand side.

Robert Bryce  20:58  

Because there’s tremendous and we’ll Okay, so let me let me ask about that. Because the supply side here is the key, right, we’ve had the oil price decline was due not just to a lack of an oversupply, it was an oversupply combined with a plummeting of demand. So that’s, that’s the introduction, how important then I want to zoom out and we’ll talk about the supply side, because we’re going to have it appears plenty of supply. How important was the shale revolution in terms of changing the global oil market? What what are the knock on effects of this that now that it really began, I would argue maybe 15 years ago, between 2005 2008, the shale revolution really took off, what effect has that had on the global oil market,

Unknown Speaker  21:41  

it changed everything. We call it a revolution for a reason, because it’s flipped everything upside down. It’s flipped the conventional wisdom upside down. Everything that was going down now is going up, everything that’s going up is going down. So that’s why it is a revolution because revolutions, flip everything upside down. And the impact of it basically can’t came in stages. And the reason why it came into I’m talking about the oil and gas together, okay, reason why it came in stages. Because, as you know, we were banned from exporting us produced oil for 40 years

Robert Bryce  22:23  

exporting exporting crude. We were exporting products, right?

Unknown Speaker  22:26  

Yes, crude. Yeah. So what happened?

Robert Bryce  22:28  

And that export ban was passed in the 70s. Right, during after

Unknown Speaker  22:33  

1970, early 1974. Correct.

Robert Bryce  22:35  

Right. And this was part of the bargain that the republicans and the democrats made, but four or five, six years ago that lifted the crude oil export ban, in exchange for some horse trading on renewable energy credits or tax credits, if I remember.

Unknown Speaker  22:50  

Yes. So in December 2015, President Obama basically lifted the ban. Okay, so we have an impact before lifting the ban and a different impact after lifting the ban. And that’s some has some that has some political implications within the US and outside the US. We’ll talk about it in a minute. But what happened is between 2010 and 2015, the Saudis and OPEC members did not feel threatened by the shale revolution because shale oil was not exported to the rest of the world. So they did not feel it early. But what happened is, shale replaced us imports of the same crude quality which shale is light, sweet crude,

Robert Bryce  23:39  

which is thank you light, sweet crude, which was what was produced in Oklahoma and Texas, largely, right.

Unknown Speaker  23:44  

Correct. So the we replaced the light, sweet crude imports, and that came mostly from Algeria and Nigeria. So the Saudis and the Gulf nations explored the medium and heavy to the United States, they did not feel the impact immediately. Suddenly, they did not care much about the short evolution.

Robert Bryce  24:08  

But what’s happened is because they’re because their brand their grade of crude, there are lots of different types of crude oil, depending on how sweet they are, how much sulfur they contain, how heavy they are, etc. You’re saying that the shale revolution didn’t affect the the, the the Gulf OPEC members because that wasn’t the crude type that they were they were exporting to the United States.

Unknown Speaker  24:30  

Correct. There were exporting medium and heavy on all sour, right, while the shale basically is light, super light and all sweet. Okay. Now, Nigeria and Algeria lost their market share in the United States. In fact, we have weeks, we did not import a single drop from Nigeria. Now that Nigeria has basically started looking for a mass market for their products. So they start going all over the world and it is Light, sweet crude. So they went to Asia, they went to China, they went to the Europeans, etc. And all of a sudden, the Saudis and the Gulf allies basically felt the pressure of shale indirectly. Because Algeria and Nigeria is was trying, were trying to sell their oil in the in Asia. And those countries, especially Saudi Arabia, they sell their prized light crude in Asia. And so the threat came in indirectly to them. They were trying to work this out. And all of a sudden, the Obama administration imposed sanctions on Russia, because of the annexation of Crimea. Okay. And the Russians basically, couldn’t sell some of their croods. And all of a sudden, the Chinese showed up and said, you know, we can do this, and we can buy it from you. And we can build this pipeline and do this and this. And once the Russians had a taste of Asia,

Unknown Speaker  26:03  

no way back.

Unknown Speaker  26:06  

So by the time OPEC was trying to solve its problems with with Nigeria and Algeria, all of a sudden they got hit by the Russian crude in Asia.

Robert Bryce  26:16  

So it was multiple effects here that ultimately then yes, roiled the market.

Unknown Speaker  26:20  

So I am I am, I’m working this through to reach the collapse of the market in 2015. Okay. And by the time they started realizing what’s going on in the market, the Obama administration worked out a deal with Iran. And they signed the nuclear deal, the gjakova. deal, right, that allowed the light crude and the condensate of Iran to go back to Asia. So there was no way but for the market to crash. And that’s the crash of 2015.

Robert Bryce  26:57  

Because of all this new supply that was coming into the market that ordinarily was being restrained. Yes, either by OPEC as a nominal cartel, but it also was the boxing in of the Iranians. So you know, well,

Unknown Speaker  27:09  

even more, okay, well, so what’s happened by this time?

Robert Bryce  27:13  

Let’s let’s not get too far into this, because I’m

Unknown Speaker  27:15  

not not one, but two names are important to the discussion. Sure. By that time, the Iraq was able to double its production. Haha. And Libya came online quickly. I see. So the markets crash was a result of all those developments. Together,

Robert Bryce  27:34  

right, that’s a good point. Okay. So it wasn’t it was the combination of the shale revolution. Then with all of these other facts, the Iraqis emerging from all the years of conflict and war, and Libya doing the same, and then the Russians and these other things, so and Iran and Iran, so all of those things together, but then let’s fast forward them to where we are today in terms of the demand and the supply. What I mean, where do you see this going? I guess that’s the part that I want to look into the crystal ball for me and say, Well, you know, what, what are the super majors dead? Right? There’s this claim that Oh, Exxon Mobil, their history, they’re being surpassed by Tesla, all the rest of it, you from what is the future for oil in the next two to four years? What do you Where do you see this going?

Unknown Speaker  28:21  

The first thing is that is a term I think I coined, which is the oil demand trap. We have an oil demand trap right now. And we call it all demand trap, because there is a group of people who will not travel or move around for fear of Corona. Okay. So if you give if you tell them that airline tickets from Dallas to New York are $10 only, they are not going to fly whether that ticket is $10 or $1,000, they are not going to fly. If gasoline prices declined to 20 cents, they are not going to drive. They want to make sure that is there is no coat or not around so they can move around. Okay, and therefore part of the total demand will be trapped until we find the complete solution to the crisis.

Robert Bryce  29:23  

Okay, so so so where’s the trap?

Unknown Speaker  29:26  

The trap is those people those people is demand for oil is not going to return until we find a complete solution. Okay. Now, we might, in terms of numbers go back and say well, like well we reach where we were in 2019. Well, that’s their own calculations because you have to compare it to what we are forecasting in 2019 for 2021. Okay, so this is a caution for everyone to notice that if we got to make we We got to say that we are back to normal. We are back to normal when the US oil demand goes back to the predicted oil demand in 2021 or 2022. That was predicted in 2019. Okay, just to make them equal, it’s not going to make it.

Robert Bryce  30:18  

Okay, so continue, sir.

Unknown Speaker  30:20  


Robert Bryce  30:21  

Okay, go ahead.

Unknown Speaker  30:23  

So what I’m saying here is that is part of the demand that’s not going to be recovered until we find a cure to the to the Quran. That’s number one. Number two, we have to remember that we have probably about seven to 8 million barrels a day of spare capacity right now,

Robert Bryce  30:43  

globally in global global global capacity. Primarily, I’m assuming within OPEC, and particularly within Saudi Arabia,

Unknown Speaker  30:50  

yes. But as you know, not some non OPEC members already cut. So that is considered spare capacity to okay. So for the market to balance, we need a strong demand on one side, and we need that spare capacity to shrink. Okay, but that only will happen if we reduce the total inventories worldwide by about 160 million barrels. Okay.

Robert Bryce  31:24  

So what you’re saying is, we still have over over capacity, we have still too much capacity for extracting more oil out of the ground, we have too much oil in storage still. So yes, until that all changes, we’re going to be stuck in this, or in this range, where oils in $40 range, something like that, which, in theory anyway, as I understand it, the shale producers in the US have a hard time making money.

Unknown Speaker  31:48  

That’s absolutely correct. And the issue here is shale production is going to decline because we have a decline in investment. While as you know, the decline rates in the wells is very high. Right. And that decline is steeper than the decline in investment. So, so what we are going to see is we are going to see a reduction, but this flurry of activities that we’ve seen in the last two months in shale is going to reduce that gap.

Robert Bryce  32:19  

Okay, so so let me interrupt it. So do you see a recovery? I mean, there are other people are talking about what we’re having under investment in oil now. And that we’re going to have an oil price spike in two three years from now because

Unknown Speaker  32:31  

I am investing. Yes, if people are interested, they can search my articles on the web and some podcasts, I am predicting a major energy crisis. And what people do not realize is once we hit a major energy crisis, the cost of everything goes up, including the cost of solar, wind and electric vehicles.

Robert Bryce  32:56  

Okay, well, let me interrupt for a second. Now I haven’t just reminder for everyone talking to nos Alhaji. He’s an oil market expert and editorial advisor at a Taka, which is the first Arabic language energy and Media Research platform. He’s on twitter at a nos Alhaji a na s al HAJJ ai. So okay, so just to be clear, you’re predicting you say crisis. I think that words overused, I’m just going to be clear with you. But so you’re you’re predicting an oil price spike, then is that is that you’re predicting that prices will spike in the next three or four years because of underinvestment now.

Unknown Speaker  33:32  

Okay, under investment and decline in shale.

Robert Bryce  33:35  

And that will lead to and so what are you

Unknown Speaker  33:38  

and and the problems with the forecast that I mentioned earlier? Because those guys are are forecasting things this way. And the world is going to go the other way. Should we have wrong forecasts accompanied by all those events together are going to lead to shortages.

Robert Bryce  33:56  

But as it is going to be shortages or just a price spike because that’s I’m not familiar with shortages, the price goes up and demand goes down. I haven’t but so well. So what are you predicting I mean, let me be clear here you oil going supply

Unknown Speaker  34:09  

is not going to keep up with demand and we are going to see prices going up but here I want to make a clarification. Okay. Some people already are predicting prices to reach 100 and 120 Okay, in the initial stage, we will not hit 100 any under any circumstances. And the reason why because China built up a massive strategic petroleum reserves and added more to it during the crisis when oil prices were about 20 $25. So once oil reaches about 80 they are going to flood the market with their SPR let me clarify here one point in the United States. The SPR is rigged is heavily regulated and in The President of the United States cannot use it to manipulate prices or influence prices. So we have regulations that govern the SPR China does not have those regulations,

Robert Bryce  35:11  

the US SPR is 700 million 800 million barrels 600 600

Unknown Speaker  35:14  

and around 640. Right.

Robert Bryce  35:17  

Okay. Okay, so 600 million barrels, but we can only withdraw and a few marry a few million barrels a day anyway, right? You know, it’s not it’s not

Unknown Speaker  35:25  

even if you if you do it at 1 million, that’s massive amount.

Robert Bryce  35:28  

Okay. All right. Fair enough. But your point is that the Chinese aren’t under those same constraints. So they, the Chinese will be able to moderate any any slowdown in in supply. But you’re still I mean, the punch line here, I just want to be clear here, and also is that you’re predicting a sharp rebound in oil prices in three years, four years, something like this,

Unknown Speaker  35:48  

even probably before that, but the issue here is this, that when China flood the market with the SPR, that’s the old they bought at 25 to $40. So they are making huge amount of money. Okay, and what and then since the demand for oil is seasonal, they can maintain this for about two, three months until the seasons change. And it coincides with lower demand. And that will lead to even lower price. So they can buy again, and restore or replenish what they sold. So this came they can play this game for several years. If they can play it on seasonal basis. Okay.

Robert Bryce  36:29  

All right. So many shifts here, because we’ve covered the oil pricing. So what is the there was a lot made of I mean, there has been for decades now the US Saudi relationship, and you have experienced in Saudi Arabia long experience. What is the future of the US Saudi relationship look like? Can you talk about that?

Unknown Speaker  36:49  

Yes. Let’s avoid names here and just focus on deep state to deep state. Okay. The the relationship between the deep state in the United States and the deep state in Saudi Arabia, is extremely strong. It’s way stronger than what most people believe. Regardless of the names and who is heading the state at that time. We have more than almost 80 years of relations to prove it. And yes, sometimes there were some rocky relationships between the two countries, but they always worked it out. Uh huh. So easy, and

Robert Bryce  37:29  

why deep? I’m just to be clear. I mean, there are a lot of American businesses that have deep relationships in the US Commercial construction companies, oil and gas companies, others that are that are doing business in Saudi Arabia. Those are deep state as big as maybe an overused term. But you’re saying that these are commercial ties that are separate and apart from the diplomatic ties that that are ones that we hear more about? Is that fair? Well,

Unknown Speaker  37:55  

there are a couple of things here. One, one thing is the political ties are very deep. And the other issue that people should realize is the cultural ties when we talk about people kind of forget about those cultural, yes, the Saudis are Muslims. And yes, do some people call them hobbies, or whatever, despite all of that the percentage of the population in Saudi Arabia that’s been educated in the United States is the highest in the world. Hmm.

Unknown Speaker  38:26  


Unknown Speaker  38:26  

So the cultural ties and through education, basically is beyond amazing. And if you look at all the government officials today, and I’m talking about all the senior officials, most likely, all of them are American educated.

Robert Bryce  38:46  

So it just gives them a more of an affinity for the United States. But but even so I understand what you’re saying there. But in terms of the oil relationship, that’s not nearly as important anymore. Is that fair?

Unknown Speaker  38:57  

No, that’s not true. I mean,

Robert Bryce  39:00  

why is that wrong?

Unknown Speaker  39:01  

Okay. The Trump administration basically commit kind of Miss Miss kind of informed people about it. If you look at the data. Yes, US oil production increased. But remember, we are exporting oil, why we are exporting oil, because our refineries cannot handle it anymore. The refiners want the heavier of the medium crude. That’s the food they’ve been eating for 4050 years. 60 years.

Robert Bryce  39:28  

Okay, can I just interrupt because I just wanted to clarify that point, because it’s an important one. And what you’re saying is and I just sort of people that are listening, the US refinery sector and mostly on the US Gulf Coast, built their refineries to handle heavy sour crude, and so they buy it at a discount to the posted crude price, turn it into diesel and gasoline and that’s the crack spread and they make a better margin. Their profit margin is based on that lower cost crude that is a little more difficult to refine, but it makes them more money. So the refining light sweet Crude that we’re producing here is not the same. So anyway, I just want to be clear about

Unknown Speaker  40:03  

Yes, yes. But that is one issue here. We have to remember, okay, that the largest refinery in the United States, motiva is owned by Saudi Arabia. how that plays into the major? Is

Robert Bryce  40:17  

it shell and Shell Oil and sound the Saudis or is it is it? Is it all Saudi?

Unknown Speaker  40:22  

It’s they bought it from shell. They bought the shell half a few years ago. So it’s 100% owned by Aramco.

Robert Bryce  40:29  

Okay. And this is motiva in Beaumont, Baytown. It’s in Texas.

Unknown Speaker  40:33  

Yeah, it isn’t Texas. Yes. Right. Yeah,

Robert Bryce  40:35  

that’s over a half a million barrels a day. It’s

Unknown Speaker  40:37  

a very 600 630. Okay.

Robert Bryce  40:40  

Very, very large refinery.

Unknown Speaker  40:42  

Yes, the. So let’s go back to what the Trump administration missed about this issue of energy independence and the Middle East. First of all, we still need that oil. But the US interest if you look at what happened in Iraq, we did go to Iraq, we lost lives, we lost money, we lost this, this this, and then all the contracts went to other countries.

Robert Bryce  41:07  

I’m not important contracts, all the contracts for developing Iraqi oil went to other companies or totaal, I guess, or other other other other companies, not necessarily based in the United States.

Unknown Speaker  41:19  

Yes. Okay. So the idea here is what the United States Why did Danish went to Iraq and what they want from the Middle East, the interest of the United States basically is controlling the oil supplies to their enemies and their friends. So it’s not necessarily that we need the oil to come to the United States. This is part of the global power. If you control those oil supplies to China, you can choke China. That’s why China is building this massive SPR. Because they believe that one day, the United States might either block them from reaching the Gulf region, or they can or the United States basically blocks the Malacca Strait.

Robert Bryce  42:02  

So So just to be clear, I want to interrupt because it’s a really interesting point. What I’m hearing you say is that the Carter doctrine is still alive and well, and is ruling American policy in the Middle East, which the American Carter doctrine implemented in the 70s was, the US will not let any foreign power control the flow of oil out of the Persian Gulf, that that is America’s prerogative. And you’re saying that that’s still very much the case?

Unknown Speaker  42:25  

It is

Robert Bryce  42:26  

yes. And even though we are supposedly energy independent, we’re not energy independent, we still need that crude from Saudi Arabia for our refineries. But you’re saying that that oil? Well, okay. Let me put it this way. to you that form of a question, let me talk about oil is still the ultimate strategic commodity. Is that fair?

Unknown Speaker  42:47  

Well, this might change. Like as we go, because you have issues with lithium and cobalt and nickel. So those metals basically can go in term of strategic importance over time. And if you look at what fennan from the State Department said about the current Arabic, the recent Arabic meeting, about two weeks ago, he said something stunning, and I was very pleased to see him talking about that, because I’d be writing about it for a few years. And some people were making fun of me until he said it. So he kind of gives me more credibility on those. He literally warned that the United States is becoming more dependent on lithium and cobalt and nickel and graphite, from countries that are not friendly to the United States. And it’s only few countries, right? Because in oil, even before the share Revolution, the United States can import oil from about 20 countries, and most of them are friendly to the United States. Lithium and cobalt exists only in five countries. Each, and most likely Russia and China is one of them.

Robert Bryce  43:59  

Right? So you’re saying I didn’t hear about this. You’re saying the State Department official Fanon? I don’t I don’t know who that is what but but anyway, he’s warning about the strategic commodity. But But back to my question. So is oil is oil still? I take your

Unknown Speaker  44:13  

test, a test.

Robert Bryce  44:14  

So it says oil still the ultimate strategic commodity globally?

Unknown Speaker  44:19  

Yes, it is. And why? Well, first of all, because of the wide use of it. And the second thing is because all the foes and allies basically the bend still depend on it. And people do not realize this fact that the energy sector is not as important to the economy and to politicians as much as the transportation sector.

Robert Bryce  44:47  

But the transportation sector depends directly on the oil sector. Yes.

Unknown Speaker  44:50  

So sometimes people will mix between the two. the transportation sector is literally the backbone of any economy.

Robert Bryce  45:01  

Right. And and well, okay, so years ago, I just have to interject this because it was a railroad guy named Don Cheatham, who told me without transportation, there’s no commerce. Well, without oil, there’s no transportation. So without oil, there’s no transportation and there’s no commerce you got, that’s exactly the case. So that that is the essence of the strategic ness. I is that a way to know? Absolutely,

Unknown Speaker  45:23  


Robert Bryce  45:24  

So that because oil is essential for transportation, it is a strategic commodity that we just simply can’t do without and that and is that going to change in 10 years? 20 years? 30 years? What’s your what’s your crystal ball?

Unknown Speaker  45:36  

That’s the chat basically, we are going to see like I said, you are going to see lithium, cobalt and nickel and graphite, basically increasing in importance over time. They may not reach the peak of oil, but they are going to be there when when politicians talk about the strategic commodities. They talk about oil and those two,

Robert Bryce  45:57  

which is why BP is now including them in their strategic in their in their annual outlook. Right? The the Okay, so let me let me move on here a little bit, because I want to I want to cover these other things. And I don’t want to, you know, I want to stay on for about an hour. is natural gas, the new oil or it? Could it be the new oil, we’ve seen a an incredibly rapid globalization of liquefied natural gas. And we also see the new the power of Siberia pipeline connecting the Chinese and the Russians on a gas pipeline with the Russians $400 billion deal on a 5000 mile pipeline. I mean, it is natural gas, how important is natural gas? Or is natural gas, the emerging strategic commodity?

Unknown Speaker  46:43  

natural gas has been a strategic commodity in some regions or regional basis. So if you look at Bolivia and their neighboring countries, for example, in Latin America, or you look at Europe, between Germany to the previous Soviet Union or Russians, yeah, right, etc. By the way, this is kind of very important, the new state department Secretary that’s been appointed by Biden. His first book is on the gas pipeline between Europe and the Soviet Union. And I think it was published in 1983. Ah, okay. So we might see more of those discussions once the new administration takes office.

Robert Bryce  47:26  

Ah, okay. I’m looking, I’m looking at up. I didn’t know that.

Unknown Speaker  47:29  

Yeah, he wrote a book in 19. I think it was 1983. Hmm. Okay. Got it. So, yes, so what’s happened is, God’s was always a regional commodity. And all the change we are seeing now basically, it’s becoming more globalized. And people are demanding it more because of the environmental issues. So they are trying to substitute coal and use gas instead. Right along other other lines. Right. So what we are seeing here is just an increase in strategic importance, because it’s moving from a regional commodity to an to a global commodity.

Robert Bryce  48:10  

Gotcha. And is that going to accelerate? It seems to me that we are looking at some of the headlines that that that importance as a global commodity as growing because of the rapid increase in the LNG trade. Is that fair?

Unknown Speaker  48:23  

That’s absolutely correct. But we have a couple of issues here to consider. The what what the beauty of LNG is you can take that tanker anywhere in the world, just like oil, correct. And they can benefit from the seasonality of the demand between North and South, etc. and all that stuff. The issue here is, and this is really what I hope that will not happen is we know the pipelines are heavily politicized. And the last thing we want right now is for the LNG to be politicized. Okay. The Trump administration, I think was going in that direction. And hopefully, the Biden administration will not fall into that trap. Although I think some of the new senior officials in the Biden administration are coming directly from the LNG companies. Hmm, okay.

Robert Bryce  49:17  

Yeah, I I’m not familiar with that. Well, so let me ask about the Biden ministration. Then so we’ve seen some real tough talk by the Trump administration on Iran. If you were secretary of state in the United States, what I mean, what would your policy what should the United States policy toward the Iranians be? What what’s the right, the right position there?

Unknown Speaker  49:39  

Well, the new Secretary of State basically is no stranger to this the previous Iran gjakova deal was done by him and his colleagues. So he is part of it. Uh huh. But the question that should be asked everyone is talking about what the administration would do what Biden would do, etc. No one is out. What the Iranians would do? Uh huh. And I think this is more important than what would Biden do? And the reason why, because from the Iranian point of view, if the policy is going to change every 40 years with a new president, why I have to be part of the deal anyway.

Robert Bryce  50:18  

Just ignore them.

Unknown Speaker  50:20  

So that means the only way they want to go for it, if something comes out of the US government, not out of the US House, White House? Uh huh. So something like ratified by the Senate and the Congress, where it stands the test of time, that a god this of who is the president?

Robert Bryce  50:40  

So you’re talking about some kind of a treaty, then?

Unknown Speaker  50:42  

I mean, that would Yes, yes. Yeah.

Robert Bryce  50:44  

Yes. You have to be passed by the Senate. Not just that, yeah. Okay.

Unknown Speaker  50:47  

Okay. So that’s number one. Number two, is what is really the final objective at the end of the objective is, we already know one fact about us Iran relations. The Iranians need that civilian nuclear power. Again, I’m repeating here civilian, right, and they need it. For a simple fact of the population, half of the population is young, and the population has grown substantially. Most of the population centers are far away from where oil and gas is all and gas exists in minority areas where they have always civil unrest, etc, while nuclear basically will be in the near their population centers, so there will be from a kind of energy secured, if something happened. Sure. And the argument of the Iranians is Look, when my populate my population was 40% of what it is today, the United States government in the mid 60s, proposed to the Shah, a nuclear power. And all the nuclear program that is built in Iran today is built on a gift on a nuclear reactor that the United States, Kissinger basically give Iran as a gift in 1967.

Robert Bryce  52:14  

Huh, okay, well, this isn’t this is news to me. Well, because Kissinger Oh, 667 was the Johnson administration. But Kissinger wouldn’t have come until the Nixon administration later,

Unknown Speaker  52:23  

right. Or, but we somehow probably I mistaken with the names, but there was something that’s been given to them. And around that period, and it was I think it’s a

Robert Bryce  52:35  

Okay, so during the shot during the tenure of the Shah, the US tried to promote atomic energy into into Iran. So as the Boo share reactor with us now a Russian project was that I didn’t know this history, but

Unknown Speaker  52:48  

what at least they built, they started building their nuclear capabilities on that small IC. Okay, it was I think it was Westinghouse or ge. Okay. Very accurate. But

Robert Bryce  52:58  

the important part here is, I think worth repeating, which is that you said, which is clearly true that the Iranian population is young. They’re there. Many of them are pro Western, but their electricity demand is soaring. And they need reliable electricity. That’s one of the main reasons

Unknown Speaker  53:13  

it is the it is the issue. Yeah, the issue of this, that the regime already knows one fact, the fact is, what kick the shit out of Iran was the domestic pressure, not the international pressure. Uh huh. So their view is I can’t withstand international pressure, but I need to keep the peace at home. Right. And therefore, I have to meet that demand. The problem is, any US administration would look at the stability of the regime as a threat to the US national security. So forget about whether they are going to develop the nuclear bomb or not, the threat to us national security is the stability of the Iranian regime. And if the civilian program is going to lead to that stability, then its threat it is a threat to us national security. And therefore, what we what we have witnessed in the last 20 years or so, probably will continue into the next 50 years, which is a unstable relationship reckon combative and and just with conflict continually in the in the wings as a possibility. So it goes up and down based on who is in the administration on both sides.

Robert Bryce  54:26  

I see. Well, so let me ask you this because you’ve been you’ve been going back and forth into the Arab world for a long time. And this is one of the main reasons I wanted to have you on the on the podcast is because you bring a different life experience to your your analysis, but your life experience is pretty unique. You speak read and write Arabic. You go back and forth frequently. What’s the biggest misconception or what’s the is this? Is this a class clash of cultures overall, I know you we talked earlier about the Saudis and the Americans But how much of this is religious? How much is cultural? Is that even the right way to frame it? What? What is that? What’s the biggest misconception? Here’s the question, the biggest misconception The US has about the Arab world. And and and how does the Arab world see the US? What What, is there a way to bridge the divide? Because it seems to me that there’s there’s quite a large divide is that is that fair?

Unknown Speaker  55:23  

Okay. Well, yeah, in a sense, the question cannot be asked a lump sum like this, and the answer cannot be lump sum like this. And essentially, we have go to divide the issues and what issues and at what stage and what level, etc, etc. Generally speaking, the the biggest misconception in the United States about the Arab world is this, that the government and the population are the same. And that’s absolutely not correct. The population in the Arab world in general, is mostly against the regimes. And they stand up for human rights, because they suffered the most from that.

Robert Bryce  56:06  

So the leadership? Well, I mean, it’s interesting what you put that because you’re, I mean, it’s almost you’re implying that the leadership and a lot of these Arab countries is not representative of the people.

Unknown Speaker  56:15  

Absolutely. And therefore, when I talk about misconception, many Americans would be surprised that even a young Arab who is 13 years old, can tell you that, oh, the Trump administration is this and the American people do this. So they can make the distinction between the population and the leadership. So they’re not going to lump sum all America together. Wide here, most Americans basically lump sum, all countries and all the people with their leadership together. Okay. But talking, relating this to energy, because I think this is kind of an important idea, when you talk about the outlook. And one missing point is from the dialogue about the outlook, Energy Outlook, that people are ignoring the reaction of the oil producers, to the hype of electric vehicles, and shale. And when I mentioned we are going to face energy crisis, this is really at the heart of that too. Because if you look at what the Saudis are doing, as you know, they had this G 20. meeting last week, and the G 20, adopted the circular, circular carbon economy that the Saudis basically proposed. And basically, it’s based on four ideas, which is reduce reuse, or the quality, the four R’s, but reduce, reuse, recycle and remove. So it’s a great kind of concept about how to deal with the environmental issues. But here is the issue that everyone is missing. If I am a large, the largest oil producer in the world, or the largest exporter of oil in the world, and you are telling me that my old is going to be useless in 50 years. Am I going to just walk away and let it happen? No way. So people are ignoring what those countries are doing right now, to guarantee a continuation of the demand for oil on one side, and to guarantee their income over time.

Robert Bryce  58:29  

Okay, so I just want to interrupt because I want to be clear here. So we started talking about this misconception in between or misunderstanding, mutual misunderstanding. But your answer is that in part that what what has happened is that in when it comes to climate policy, you see the West in particular, the United States and Europe saying one thing and the and the Saudis in particular, are actually your what I’ve heard you say is that they’re locking in, in some ways demand

Unknown Speaker  58:59  

No, no. Okay. Now, let me let me now we have an agreement on climate change between oil producers and consumers. So the Saudis and the G 20. Right. Yes. Okay. So the Saudis basically are with Europe, on climate change and how we are going to counter climate change.

Robert Bryce  59:19  

But But, but they’re not making any any any agreement about actually cutting emissions. Are they?

Unknown Speaker  59:24  

No, no, they are, they are, and they are doing a lot of work. I mean, you will be amazed if you look at the achievement the Saudis did, and in a sense, look at it. The Saudi Arabia despite the massive production, they are one of the lowest countries in the world who flare gas. Their methane footprint basically is very limited. Aramco per barrel, co2 is the lowest in the world. Hmm, okay. You look at the conversate conservation measures they took, basically, it’s amazing. Okay, you look at the electricity consumption and how it declined. So but this new program they are working on, it fits with the European program. But what’s missing, but people do not see this. They are for example, working on a project of oil to materials. Okay? Ultimately in a sense, okay, you are using concrete, you are using wood, I can produce something that’s not plastic, but something from oil that compensate for that word or for the, for the concrete or for the wood. So the message out of that is, you know, what, if you want to go and adopt ATVs, so you don’t want my oil and you want to use renewable energy, that’s fine. I want to make sure that car, the electric vehicle, is made from materials that is made from my oil.

Robert Bryce  1:00:52  

So the plastic the seeds, the any, any that ever corrected any credit in the vehicle. So I guess what, so let me just ask your What are? Let me ask the question as simply as I can. Are the Saudis really on board with the climate policies that are being put forward by the West?

Unknown Speaker  1:01:13  

and principles? Yes. And that’s why I said they have this this principle?

Robert Bryce  1:01:17  

Yes. But in reality, no,

Unknown Speaker  1:01:19  

no, no, what I’m saying here is, we have some true extremists in the West when it comes to environmental policy. Okay, I’m not going to go with that.

Robert Bryce  1:01:33  

The Saudis are not going to follow that

Unknown Speaker  1:01:35  

with extremism. Right. Okay. With the base. And when I say the basic issue is basically just common sense approach, which is a reduce, reuse, recycle or remove what they mean is basically is reduce carbon by shifting to renewable energy. Saudis basically are as we speak, they are building a nuclear they are building solar power, and wind power. And now they are working on nuclear program. United Arab Emirates already built the reactor. So that’s reduce. Right. Okay, reuse basically, is you take that carbon and try to use it as feedstock for something else. Right. That’s what then that technology that exists today. And then, in terms of recycling, whatever you can recycle, in terms of removal, basically, that the carbon capture, or reinjection of the carbon in oil and gas wells.

Robert Bryce  1:02:30  

So by making those points, you’re saying that the Saudis have satisfied the EU and the G 20. That they’re going to do their part? That that’s absolutely, absolutely, in addition to the role of technology and everything else. Okay. So that that’s taking the climate issue kind of off of the table anyway, for the Saudis for the near term.

Unknown Speaker  1:02:48  

And the long term. Okay.

Robert Bryce  1:02:50  

All right. Fair enough. So let me let me let me just ask a couple of last things, because we’ve talked now for more than an hour, is the US energy independent today? No.

Unknown Speaker  1:03:01  

Why not? I mean, they, first of all, we have to define what is independent, independent. Now people can talk about the numbers and say, well, it is we are still importing oil, you are still importing about 7 million, we are still importing some gas from Canada, from in some areas, it cetera. So we have those imports, we still import LNG, by the way, in the northeast. So if you look at the numbers that way, from my point of view, forget about the numbers. It is about the ability to make a decision. If the Trump administration are going to ask the Saudis to lower the prices or to produce more, then we are definitely not independent.

Unknown Speaker  1:03:45  

Uh huh.

Unknown Speaker  1:03:47  

So forget about the numbers. Just the idea that we have to ask someone else to do something for us. That means we are not independent.

Robert Bryce  1:03:56  

So that so just to be the reality is that we’re still because of our reliance on trade. We’re not independent, we’re continue to be interdependent. Is that a fair? Is that a fair assessment?

Unknown Speaker  1:04:06  

Correct. And the idea of interdependence, basically. And for those who are interested, I’ve written a few articles on this and they carried them. We benefit more financially and on political capital, through interdependence more than independence.

Robert Bryce  1:04:23  

Yeah, that’s a good point. So let me let me interrupt here and Asha, my guest and also Haji, my friend for now, more than a decade. He’s an oil market expert and editorial advisor at a Taka, which is the first Arabic language, energy media and research platform. He’s on twitter at a nos, Alhaji that’s al ha JJ is his last name. On Twitter, you have 60 some odd 1000 a big Twitter following. So let me let me let me just call this to a close here pretty soon announced because we’ve gone for a while. Are you hopeful for the future? Tell me what gives you hope. When you look at the future, what? What are the things that when you look at the world through your experience as a, an immigrant to the United States, someone who looks at the Arab world, what gives you hope when you look at the situation today?

Unknown Speaker  1:05:16  

Well, one, one issue that I would like to see, and this is kind of really, the product of the Trump administration, is, I don’t want someone to stop me at one airport just because of my name, or the way I look. Before even they see my passport or anything else. That happened to me several times and tap into hundreds of 1000s of other people,

Robert Bryce  1:05:39  

Arab Americans,

Unknown Speaker  1:05:41  

well, not necessarily because even the older some Latin Americans who look like Arabs basically got stopped. Okay.

Robert Bryce  1:05:50  

So it just want to make clear, so you’re hopeful that you you want that to stop? Is that your you hope?

Unknown Speaker  1:05:57  

Yes. All I want. All I’m looking forward to is we are all humans and to be treated just like humans like everyone else.

Robert Bryce  1:06:04  

That’s that’s a fair thing to hope. That’s a fair thing. So you’ve been stopped many times in the airport because of your your last name and what you look like?

Unknown Speaker  1:06:13  

Well, sometimes even before the I mean, just the way I will tell you a story that happened with me in in Amsterdam, a few years ago, and that still hurt me until today. I was going between two terminals. And there was this guy who is standing next to the wall, on on the hallway, basically between two terminals. And and he said Salaam Alaikum, which is the greeting in Arabic that Muslims use. And I said why they come shut down, which is the reply. And all of a sudden, he opened the door next to him. He said from here, please. And I went to interrogation, just because of a Santa Monica. I went in and they were all Muslims. While I was going again, he a woman looks mostly like a Greek, but he suspected she could be an Arab. And he told her Salaam Alaikum. She did not answer. So he followed her and kept repeating it. And she once he realized she does not speak any Arabic, he let her go. So it was discrimination based on the language, which is something I never seen before.

Robert Bryce  1:07:22  

So that’s something you wish for. And I think I’m sorry, wish for to end wish for to end right. The harassment, I guess would be the is that the right word for it that you’re being harassed. But is there something that I mean, and I and I appreciate that. But my question was about what, what gives you hope? I mean, you’re at you answer with something you hope for what gives you hope, when you look around?

Unknown Speaker  1:07:48  

Well, there are many things the other day, not probably about over a month ago, I was contacted on Twitter by a former student of mine from 20 years ago. It is really those students who learned and who knew and who traveled, etc. when when when some students like this, basically contact you and tell you, you know, I really appreciate what you’ve done when I was student and here I am the principal of a high school in Ohio or somebody else that has 1000 students. That’s what gives me hope.

Robert Bryce  1:08:24  

That’s good. I appreciate that. Well, listen, and as we could talk for a long time. You love these issues. I love these issues, but we’ve been been going for a while now. My guest has been inositol Haji he’s on twitter at a nos Alhaji at an also Haji he is easy to find on the internet and a prolific writer on energy related issues. Enough thanks for being with with us on on the power hungry podcast. We’ll be in touch. And thanks to all of you for tuning in. Thank you again next time on the power hungry podcasts and have your friends do the same. Alright, thanks

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