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U.S. Oil Policy in the Middle East

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يحتل موضوع النفط موقع اساسيا في تقرير مصير وسير الاجداث في الشرق الاوسط خلال القرن الماضي و يعتقد الكثير من المحللين الى انه سيكون كذلك لمده اخرى غير بالقصيره. وبالرغم من ذلك في المواطن في هذا الشرق الاوسط يكاد يكون اميا في فهم اسس هذا المجال الحيوي الذي تدخل بشكل مباشر وغير مباشر في تقرير قدره. فبين مغال راديكالي لايفهم سوى لغه المؤامره و الاحاديه في تحليل الامور , الى متغاف لا يعي حقيقه واهميه هذا العامل .

افتتح هذا العمود لطرح الافكار المختلفه حول ما يتعلق بالسياسه الامريكيه النفطيه في الشرق الاوسط , املا في توجيه الانتباه الى هذا المجال الحيوي

ادناه مقال لكاتب عربي امريكي كتب قبل اكثر من عشره سنوت , اجد فيه بعض الاهميه

 

 

 

 

U.S. Oil Policy in the Middle East

 

Volume 2, Number 4

January 1997

 

Written by Mamoun Fandy of the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies at Georgetown University. Author of “Middle East Resources for Education and Action,” Worldviews (January-March 1996).

Editors: Tom Barry (IRC) and Martha Honey (IPS)

 

http://www.fpif.org/briefs/vol2/v2n4oil_body.html

 

The U.S. became painfully aware of the need for a new oil policy after the oil shocks of 1973-75 and 1978-80. In 1973, the per-barrel price of Saudi light crude was $2.41. With the Arab oil embargo it quickly rose to $10.73. Then, beginning in 1978, the price of a barrel of crude shot up from $13.34 to $32.81. Since then the U.S. has been publicly committed to reducing dependence on foreign oil. However, despite repeated promises by both Democratic and Republican presidents, the U.S. has actually increased that dependence.

 

Instead of trying to wean the country from Gulf oil, Washington has focused on military-strategic efforts to ensure dominance in the oil region. However, its major approach, dual containment, is fundamentally flawed. Its stated purpose is to protect the flow of reasonably priced oil, yet it was imposed when oil prices were plummeting and the oil states were frustrated because of a glut on the market. In this sense, the large U.S. military presence in the Gulf, supposedly preventing Iran and Iraq from threatening oil supplies, is unnecessary. Furthermore, the current U.S. military presence has negative political consequences for the stability of the oil regimes, as seen in the latest attacks on the U.S. military installation in Saudi Arabia.

 

Big Shift in China's Oil Policy

With Iraq Deal Dissolved by War, Beijing Looks Elsewhere

 

By Peter S. Goodman

Washington Post Foreign Service

Wednesday, July 13, 2005;

 

 

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/conte...1201546_pf.html

 

Iraq changed the government's thinking," said Pan Rui, an international relations expert at Fudan University in Shanghai. "The Middle East is China's largest source of oil. America is now pursuing a grand strategy, the pursuit of American hegemony in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia is the number one oil producer, and Iraq is number two [in terms of reserves]. Now, the United States has direct influence in both countries."

 

Many other factors help explain China's motives in dispatching its energy companies abroad for new stocks. Oil demand is exploding in China as people embrace automobiles and as factories, apartment towers and office buildings proliferate. For the third summer in a row, China is rationing energy, limiting production in industrial areas.

 

In little more than a decade, China has changed from a net exporter of oil into the world's second-largest importer, trailing only the United States.

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Iraq: Linchpin of a new oil order

 

 

Michael Renner*

January 4, 2003

 

 

http://www.mnforsustain.org/oil_renner_m_u...policy_iraq.htm

 

But once the facilities are rehabilitated (a lucrative job for the oil service industry, including Cheney’s former employer, Halliburton) and new fields are brought into operation, the spigots could be opened wide. To pay for the massive task of rebuilding, a post-sanctions Iraq would naturally seek to maximize its oil production. Some analysts, such as Fadhil Chalabi, a former Iraqi oil official, assert that Iraq could produce 8-10 million b/d within a decade and eventually perhaps as much as 12 million.[10]

 

The impact on world markets is hard to overstate. Saudi Arabia would no longer be the sole dominant producer, able to influence oil markets single handedly. Given that US-Saudi relations cooled substantially in the wake of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks rifts that may widen further - a Saudi competitor would not be unwelcome in Washington. An unnamed US diplomat confided to Scotland’s Sunday Herald that "a rehabilitated Iraq is the only sound long-term strategic alternative to Saudi Arabia. It’s not just a case of swapping horses in mid-stream, the impending US regime change in Baghdad is a strategic necessity."[11]

 

Washington would gain enormous leverage over the world oil market. Opening the Iraqi spigot would flood world markets and drive prices down substantially. OPEC, already struggling with overcapacity and a tendency among its members to produce above allotted quotas (an estimated 3 million barrels per day above the agreed total of 24.7 million b/d), might unravel as individual exporters engage in destructive price wars against each other.[12]

 

A massive flow of Iraqi oil would also limit any influence that other suppliers, such as Russia, Mexico and Venezuela, have over the oil market. Lower prices could render Russian oil - more expensive to produce - uncompetitive, which would cloud the prospects for attracting foreign investment to tap Siberian oil deposits.[13] Russia’s weak economy is highly dependent on oil export revenues. Its federal budget is predicated on prices of $24-25 per barrel.[14] Aleksei Arbatov, deputy chairman of the Russian parliament’s defense committee, predicts that if a new Iraqi regime sells oil without limits, "our budget will collapse."[15]

 

Rising call: Cut US oil imports

Security hawks, environmentalists forge a rare consensus on energy.

By Mark Clayton | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

 

http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/0505/p01s04-usfp.html

 

President Bush says he can't immediately bring down the price of foreign oil. But sixth-grader Savannah Walters of Tampa, Fla., has a plan. Her "Pump 'em Up!" website urges kids to bug their parents to check their tire pressure. Properly inflated tires on the nation's cars would save an estimated 4 million gallons of gasoline a day.

 

R. James Woolsey, former director of the Central Intelligence Agency, also has an energy plan. He's signed onto a 129-page blueprint from the newly formed Energy Future Coalition, which would use tax credits to push fast development of hybrid and other advanced vehicles and technologies that could make ethanol from corn stalks, prairie grass, or even sawdust.

 

Outside official Washington, which is laboring over an energy bill, energy-independence plans are popping up across the American political landscape. Liberals and conservatives, ecologists and former military brass have reached the same conclusion: The United States needs a radical change in energy policy. The way to do it, they agree, is through a mix of conservation and new-but-available technology that could quickly begin to reduce US reliance on some

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Chevron, Total Seek Oil Deal in Iraq

AP

Posted: 2008-04-12 08:42:14

BAGHDAD (AP) - Oil giants Chevron Corp. and Total have confirmed that they are in discussions with the Iraqi Oil Ministry to increase production in an important oil field in southern Iraq.

 

The discussions are aimed at finalizing a two-year deal, or technical support agreement, to boost production at the West Qurna Stage 1 oil field near Iraq's second-largest city of Basra.

 

Chevron and Total confirmed their involvement in the discussions in e-mails received Saturday by The Associated Press.

 

"Chevron is interested in helping the Iraq government's objectives to develop its oil and gas industry," Chevron spokesman Kurt Glaubitz said in an e-mail. Total spokeswoman Lisa Wyler confirmed the French company's involvement.

 

Basra, about 340 miles southeast of Baghdad, has been the scene of sporadic attacks and clashes since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. The latest fighting broke out March 25 when the government launched an operation against Shiite militants, who remain in control of several neighborhoods.

 

West Qurna field, located about 40 miles west of Basra, is among Iraq's 10 "super giant" fields with its reserves estimated between 15 to 21 billion barrels, according to Iraqi Oil Ministry and Energy Information Administration.

 

The Ministry intends to add 100,000 barrels per day to the field's current capacity of 180,000 bpd. Its estimated pre-2003 production capacity stood at 250,000 bpd, the ministry's figures show.

 

In 1997, the Russian Lukoil oil giant struck a $3.7 billion deal with former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein to drill at the West Qurna field. However, Saddam canceled the contract in 2002. The Russians hoped they would be able to revive it when Moscow wrote off most of Iraq's $12.9 billion debt.

 

The Iraqi Oil Ministry has said it is also negotiating with Royal Dutch Shell PLC, BP PLC, ExxonMobil Corp. to increase crude production in four other fields and under the same agreement.

 

Iraq has the world's third-largest oil reserves, totaling more than 115 billion barrels. Iraq's average production for February was 2.4 million barrels per day and exports averaged 1.93 million barrels per day.

 

 

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press. Active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.

04/12/08 08:35 EDT

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Below is a norther sample of proactive propaganda against any enrollment of the US BIG brothers in Iraqi OIL market. I do accept the analogy of calling for transparent OIL industry management, however I don't know why the NT editor is making so bug noise about technical support deals that they might get among 34 other companies from around the world which where selected from more than 100 companies that had submitted their qualifications to get these technical assistance contracts that went through very hard discussion and monitoring by different levels of Iraqi political and government bodies.

I understand the sensitivity of having any contract by US companies while there is heavy handed US military presence, but what does the editor wants? Iraq keeps losing opportunities of rebuilding it's oil fields just to please our Arab and Iranian's brothers who don't hesitate to run all possible options to enhance and enjoy the high price of OIL revenues. Iraq is in need for revenue to rebuild what Saddam and last war had done.

 

The current policy is to do what ever constitutionally possible to boost the production while the Parliament is keep discussing the new oil law over the last eighteen months.

 

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/22/opinion/...amp;oref=slogin

Editorial

 

 

Iraq Oil Rush

 

 

Published: June 22, 2008

 

Given that corruption is an acknowledged problem in Iraq's government, the contracts would have more legitimacy if the bidding were open to all and the process more transparent. Iraqis must apply that standard when they let contracts for long-term oil field development.

 

Also troubling is that the deals were made even though Iraq's parliament has failed to adopt oil and revenue sharing laws — critical political benchmarks set by the Bush administration. That is evidence of continued deep divisions in Iraq over whether oil should be controlled by central or regional government, whether international oil companies should be involved in development and how the profits should be distributed.

 

The United States and the oil companies must encourage Iraqi officials to make the political compromises needed to establish in law the rules for managing Iraq's abundant natural resources with as much transparency as possible. Otherwise, oil will just become one more centripetal force pulling the country apart.

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