Monday, May 26, 2008

The Diplomacy of Oil

Of all the topics that we have discussed in this series, this is the one which receives the most press. Over the last several years we have reached the point that 2/3 of our oil comes from outside our own borders. Therefore, one of the biggest ways we can decrease oil prices is by finding more oil at a cheaper rate.

It is a great-souding political strategy to "reduce our dependence on foreign oil". In terms of national security, it is an ideal position. However, it does mean that Americans would literally have to be willing to pay the price. To maintain existing prices we would have to TRIPLE our domestic oil production, be willing to give up our cars almost altogether, or find an alternative to replace oil almost entirely. Therefore, it seems that foreign oil is a necessary evil for now.

We must dispel a few myths however. Many are under the assumption that the majority of our foreign oil comes from the Middle East or from the OPEC nations. (What is OPEC?) In fact, just under half of our oil comes from OPEC, and less than a quarter comes from the Middle East. The nation that supplies more of our oil than any other country (besides ourselves) is Canada! (Horrors!)

What does this mean? Primarily it means that oil coming from foreign sources is coming from everywhere! No one nation or organization influences all of our oil supply. So, while negotiating an increased supply from Saudi Arabia (as Mr. Bush just did) may be beneficial, it is only one possible solution to this vast situation.

Sources:
Department of Energy: Top 15 countries
Persian Gulf
US Crude Supply and Disposition
Imports by Country

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