This week oil prices reached the highest they've been since 2008, while gas prices have tripled to an all-time high. Petrol prices at the pump are at record levels. The working class faces the biggest hit to living standards since the 1970s.
And we're told these prices will go up even more, due to the Ukraine war! So the £700 rise in energy bills due in April, plus the £1,000 rise in October, could in fact turn into £3-5,000 increase!
Is this inevitable? Has a shortage of oil and gas pushed the price up? What happened to the excess - that "glut" of supply due to the Covid pandemic - when the price of a barrel of oil fell so far it actually went negative, as demand dropped through the floor?
In reality, prices had already been rising before the Ukraine war. And there's nothing "natural" about it! This is the way capitalists profiteer! Oil and gas companies artificially restricted supply, to push prices up to recoup Covid losses - and speculators did the rest. BP's and Shell's record profit announcements last month said it all!
And now the war in Ukraine will give these companies an additional huge boost - and a windfall for their investors, with a green light from the government, which would never dare to intervene, via a takeover, for instance, nor even by imposing price controls!
In fact the ban on Russian oil and gas imports announced by the US and Britain on Wednesday has already added to the oil price rise, although Britain's ban doesn't come into effect until the end of the year.
On the other hand, the US has decided to replace its Russian supply: its population relies on cheap petrol. So it's reinstating Venezuelan oil imports, embargoed since 2019, by hastily rehabilitating President Maduro, the "socialist" Chavez's successor, who is suddenly no longer their favourite bad guy! And never mind that this embargo devastated the Venezuelan economy and caused a refugee crisis, as huge numbers fled the consequent poverty. That's all in the past!
It's worth adding, by the way, that in the same week that Russia started bombing Ukraine, the US bombed Al Shabaab "targets" in Somalia, where an offshore oil and gas contract has just been signed by a US company...
What's more, Biden is about to endorse the Iran Nuclear Deal which will allow sanctions against Iran's oil exports to be lifted - at last, opening further opportunities for oil barons and speculators!
In the meantime, the West's oligarchs at the head of the biggest oil and energy companies: Shell, BP, ExxonMobil, Total etc., and the oligarchs of the hedge funds and their oligarchical shareholders, are already making new fortunes. For them, this is a "lovely" war. Never mind the bloodshed. But we remember Iraq.