< HOME  Saturday, March 11, 2006

Live by Oil, Die by Oil

"If (they) politicize our nuclear case, we will use any means. We are rich in energy resources. We have control over the biggest and the most sensitive energy route of the world," [Iran's Interior Minister,] Pourmohammadi was quoted as saying by the official Islamic Republic News Agency.

Iran is the No. 2 producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries after Saudi Arabia. It also lies on one side of the narrow Strait of Hormuz, a key passage for most of the crude oil shipped from the Persian Gulf nations.

* * *

Some diplomats saw the comments as veiled threats to use oil as a weapon, though Iran's oil minister ruled out any decrease in production. Iran also has leverage with extremist groups in the Middle East that could harm U.S. interests.

About 90 percent of the oil exported from the Gulf in recent years passed through the Strait of Hormuz, according to the U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Information Administration.

Closure of the strait would require more costly shipping of oil and natural gas by pipeline across Saudi Arabia, according to the agency's Web site.
Whether the hostilities in Iraq and Iran are designed to control the oil that props up dollar hegemony, or designed to reshape the map of the Middle East, one thing is certain. You cannot prosecute a war without energy.

Oil is the American military's Achilles heel.


I just ran into this 1997 piece written by former Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger from "The Oil Deal With Iran."
Iran's large and talented population, its considerable resources and its geographic position all destine it to play a vital, in some circumstances decisive, role in the gulf and in the Islamic world. This is why, when in office, I treated Iran as the linchpin of our gulf policy.

American policy also needs to be concerned with the difficulty of preserving stability in the gulf. In precarious alliance with Saudi Arabia, we are confronting the two most powerful states in the region -- Iran and Iraq -- while, in both the United States and Germany, there are serious domestic obstacles to close association with Turkey, the other relevant regional power.

Finally, an embargo against Iran involves the practical long-term danger of closing off the most efficient route for transporting oil from Central Asia to world markets.

That makes it likely that the vast majority (if not all) of the pipelines from these vital regions will have to go through Russia, giving Moscow a stranglehold should either the growth of industrial production around the world or political upheavals in key oil-producing states lead to another energy crisis.
This is the culmination of a long-term strategy for the Middle East.


At Saturday, March 11, 2006, Blogger Yukkione said...

We get most of our oil from Canada, and with oil rationing stateside we could out manuver an Iranian embargo during a time a war. However i think this growing brinksmanship is dangerous, and I don't like it one bit.

At Saturday, March 11, 2006, Blogger qrswave said...

I don't think there is any question that there will be a confrontation. The question is, how and when will it happen?

At Saturday, March 11, 2006, Blogger Tedj said...

Enter Biodiesel. When Midwestern farmers will get teh big bucks that we've been exporting overseas

At Sunday, March 12, 2006, Blogger vper1 said...

Biodiesel adding to destruction of rainforest...

^Some good commentary also (bottom of article)

At Sunday, March 12, 2006, Blogger Confessions of a Malamute said...

I read Left of Centre's comment of Canada supplying most of US oil, thinking this must be wrong but indeed its correct. Surprises me actually. This isn't the whole story however.

According to Energy Information Administration website Canada was the top single foreign supplier of oil at 1,616,000 barrels a day of oil a day in 2004 to the US. In 2004 the US imported 10,061 barrels of oil per day from all world oil producers. The Middle East as a whole supplied 2,400 of those barrels per day. Other top producers were: Mexico – 1598; Venezuela – 1297; Nigeria – 1,078. If the Middle East oil is cut off, 2,400 barrels of oil per day is a lot to replace. Where would you get it from ? A lot of countries are already at the top of their production. With increasing competition with China for oil resources and given the political situation in the US its my view that the US would have a hard time replacing it. World oil prices would sky rocket and the higher oil prices are the worse your economy is. Do you really think the big oil companies would show their compassionate side and hold oil prices down or do you think they’d jump up and down giggling like school girls at the sudden rise of their bottom line? I'm not voting for their compassionate side myself. I’ve heard that in a war with Iran 150US$ a barrel oil prices wont be outrageous. It wasn’t that long ago – last summer in fact - that in my town in Canada we were paying 1.10CDN$+ per litre (about 4.17CDN$ per gallon) for gas. The price of oil wasn’t anything near 150$ a barrel last summer.

So what you have to worry about is not just your own economy but everyone else’s too. If your suppliers economies are shot to hell they cant supply you with what you need. They also cant afford to buy what you produce and this will negatively affect your own economy. Its like a microphone that is too close to the amp. The feedback will kill you dead if you don't stop it. As it stands right now, there is no way around Middle East oil. As a block they supply the bulk of your oil imports and for that matter the bulk of the rest of the worlds oil imports.

As a society we really need to grow up. We are very wasteful of what we produce. We are not actively searching for alternatives that are friendly to the environment or viable to support our over extended way of life. Biodiesel isn't quite the savior that we think it is. Biodiesel is produced by oil found in vegetation. Yes it will run your car or for that matter army tank. Russia used it in WW2. The problem is its produced from farming techniques that are very destructive to the environment. The amount of land needed to produce the amount of oil we need is astronomical. Mass production farming involves the use of a lot of nasty chemicals and fertilizers that quite frankly you don't want to know about. And they don't stop at the plat they're targets at. They get into the ground water and cause all sorts of problems. Before a car accident 4 years ago I was a farmer. Commercial large scale farming is a nightmare.

What we need to do is re-evaluate our way of life. How we build our towns, where we place our shops, factories, schools and homes in relation to each other needs to change. Right now we normally must drive to get to them. Blocks of houses with no stores or work places close is fine so long as you can drive there. Walking 20km to work isn't something the average person is going to be interested in doing. We need towns where shops schools and work is within walking/cycling distance. We need mass rapid transit for those who must commute. We need cars that are actually fuel efficient. The gas engines we use today are not all that good at making use of the fuel that is used in them. Instead of oil heat we could use small scale geothermal pumps. One geothermal well will support several apartment buildings. You can generate electricity with geothermal wells as well. Ever see an electric trolly bus ? They actually exist. Vancouver BC Canada uses them. Why not the same method for cars used in cities. Yes having a set of contacts coming off your car may look ugly but the alternative is fast becoming giving up your car completely. Either you wont be able to afford to drive it, or you wont be able to get the fuel you need to drive it because of shortages. Use a mixed system for those who do driving outside of cities and towns. Electric inside the town. Gas or whatever comes along for rural area’s where setting up massive amounts of overhead lines is currently prohibitive to build due to cost. Generate electricity with a combination of approaches. Wind, geothermal and hydro electric power for places like where I live. Add in solar for places that get lots of sun shine. The solutions are out there. But not if we let big business decide. They're going to pick the solutions that cost us the most and make them the most profit. They wont pick the solutions that are cheapest for both us and the environment. Until we change how we live we are stuck in a situation of our own creation. And, try not to die of shock here, but it isn't just the US that faces this. We all do. Time is running out. We need to change quickly.

At Sunday, March 12, 2006, Blogger tomtom said...

Confessions of a Malamute,

I agree with your post here, but some people in the western world are not as spoilede as the Americans are, for them it will be very hard to change a lifestyle.

There are so many alternative energy forms , where I live we have experiments with busses running on bio gass (poop) and I think in Norway and Sweden these countires experiment with that too. And there are other experiments with hydrogen gas in public transport busses as well.

One is right when stating that oil is the Achilles heel of the western society and will become that of India and Chaina as well, with all the materialism emmerging, they will fall in the same trap.

Not to mention armies highly depending on oil.

The regime change needed is to fight the greedy corporations that hinder the needed development.
Having said that a regime change in the US is needed to do just that.

TomTom, Fearless Navigator


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