By Ann Summers
Imagine if seismic analysis was not applied to the oceans, a more open frontier despite the Law of the Sea but to the task of fracking, what kind of multi-player online role playing game (MMORPG) could be hypothesized – sim occupants fleeing their devalued homes and with real-time strategy you could predict the earthquake or poisoned water using your smartphone apps. The first step has been taken by the maritime giant Maersk with a recent MMORPG. Rather than bullying feminists, now the misogynist Canadian gamergaters could help terrify thousands with digital tar sands CGI simulations, and maybe even add a Call of Duty patch to kill digital inhabitants of oil producing countries.
Quest for Oil is a multiplayer online game to help supply globalization not unlike America’s Army in the propaganda battle to continue to resource the shock doctrine and hence maintain global armed conflict.
It raises new questions about what gets to be culturally appreciated as though resource accumulation could be a projectable commodity with few renewable substitutes and oil exploration was somehow something like “boldly going where no one has gone before”. OTOH budding geologists could be enticed to see that their work has no apparent social costs or externalities.
The Middle East leads the board in crude exports with 850.1 million tonnes shipped out in 2014. It’s followed by Russia (294.8), West Africa (213.9), and Canada (148.6).
In terms of product exports, like gasoline and diesel, the US is No. 1 with 179.9 million tonnes, closely trailed by, again, Russia and the Middle East.
On the flip side, Europe is the biggest importer of both crude (446.9) and product imports (173.5). The US, China, India, Japan, and Australasia are also major consumers of both crude and refined product.
Quest for Oil Gamers hunt for the best oil fields in deep water off Qatar and in the North Sea.
And to master the challenge players need to learn and test analytic skills looking for oil on a seismic map.
Once a likely location is assessed, accurate drilling techniques are needed to avert disaster as players test their wits against “an artificially intelligent digital opponent” that is dedicated to making players lose.
….the reappearance of structural scarcity in the realm of energy enabled the OPEC countries to multiply the price of oil by ten in the 1970s, i.e. to have it determined by the oilfields where production costs are the highest, thereby assuring the owners of the cheapest oil wells in Arabia, Iran, Libya, etc. huge differential minerals rents.
Marx’s theory of land and mineral rent can be easily extended into a general theory of rent, applicable to all fields of production where formidable difficulties of entry limit mobility of capital for extended periods of time. It thereby becomes the basis of a marxist theory of monopoly and monopoly surplus profits, i.e. in the form of cartel rents (Hilferding, 1910) or of technological rent (Mandel, 1972). Lenin’s and Bukharin’s theories of surplus profit are based upon analogous but not identical reasoning (Bukharin, 1914, 1926; Lenin, 1917).