Everyday I read the newspaper, there is always an energy related news. World fuel prices going up, countries removing or reducing subsidies, oil price hike, world record oil prices and so on. Just check up news.yahoo.com or news.google.com with oil price or energy crisis and you’ll get tons of info.
Upto date Brunei has yet to fully feel the effects of the increase in price of energy. The subsidies are still maintained, car purchases are still rising, energy usage is also rising. Some believe that the price hike will never happen. I am afraid that they may be wrong. Call me chicken little, but there has been signs that Brunei will be affected the same as the rest.
It is a globalised world, yes the word has been overused over and over again. Some may not even truly understand the word, global village or globalisation. The word basically means that no country is an island, The effects on one country can affect others whether it is close by or not. Brunei has not been completely immune to the increase in food prices. The Brunei government may subsidize fuel, electricity and rice. But there is only so much the government can do. Mee Goreng Noodles have gone upto $1.90 from $1.40 early this year. Flour, cooking oil, bread, meat and dairy products. Strangely egg prices have dropped from $5+ down back to $4.50, go figure.
As to be expected all consumers do is complain, and the business side can only answer that it is due to price increases. Some consumers do not even understand nor can accept this excuse. As they know that the oil price within the country is still the same, nor do they realize most food products are imported from countries such as malaysia and indonesia, where oil prices have risen dramatically early in the year.
Back to the signs, there is a theory called peak oil theory, basically assuming that oil and gas is a non-renewable and therefore limited commodity, there will be a point in time that the rate of fuel exploration and extraction will reach a peak and continue to decline. Check wikipedia on peak oil theory. Some have assume that america has already reached this peak oil. I’m guessing that Brunei’s Peak oil will be reached in 2013-2015. These is mainly from observing that the government departments have recently acted strangely, and with the publishing of a book about Brunei’s Long-Term National Development Plan 2007-2035. I’m curious about the years that were chosen. I’m guessing, that the end year is when the oil production has decreased, and therefore the government has is hoping to diversify and strengthen the economy away from oil and gas. I hope I am wrong and that our future will be prosperous for more years to come.
I don’t mean to be a fearmonger or a chicken little. But I think the earlier that Brunei population realize that we should not take for granted a lot of our benefits, the better off we will be. Fear is only natural, to panic is inappropriate, action is needed. For my part, I am trying to diversify the economy through business, one step at a time.