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Friday, August 30, 2002

John Stevenson wrote:

Other companies that do not import Middle Eastern oil:

I don't know that I've ever seen Sinclair, and assuming most of us do not live in Canada, that knocks out Petro-Canada. As for the others, according to a website maintained by the Department of Energy, all but Conoco are officially listed as receiving oil imports from the Persian Gulf, a region which I would say falls under "Middle East" (Gulf states defined as: Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates). As for Conoco, I have my doubts as to whether or not they have any suppliers that drill in that portion of the world. I have, however, seen a website that suggests none of them import Saudi oil. This is a piece of information I find dubious at best (considering the source*), especially because I found this in BP's FAQ:

BP has several existing operations in the region including oil and LNG production in Abu Dhabi, as a major supplier of gas to markets in Dubai and as an oil producer in Qatar. BP also has a technical service agreement with Kuwait Oil Company, which has been in place since 1992, under which BP provides technical advice on the further development of the oil fields of West and North Kuwait. Most recently, in June 2001, BP signed an agreement for the company to take major interest in Core Venture 1, Saudi Arabia's largest gas development and the first significant hydrocarbons project for 25 years in which the Kingdom has invited foreign companies to participate.

Furthermore, as BP is BP/Amoco, and the above-mentioned "Victims of Saudi Kidnapping" website mentions "BPAMOCO" as a non-importer of Saudi oil, I found it interesting that this DOE spreadsheet, at #567 and #568, clearly shows that Amoco does import Saudi oil. It also, interestingly, shows an awful lot of oil coming from the US Virgin Islands to companies like Hess. I did some snooping. One of the largest oil refineries in the world is in the US Virgin Islands, but all the oil that it refines is imported from elsewhere. Anyone think none of it comes from the Middle East?

It would be ludicrous to believe that any oil company that has the capital to do so does not have some production ties to the Middle East; the profits are always greater than patriotism (or general moral concern, for that matter). You want to reduce the security risk posed by oil dependence on the Middle East? Try better fuel economy and emissions standards, which will require Federal intervention, Republicans. Oh yeah, try spurring economic growth by investing in private research in the area, too, instead of a "what's good for General Motors is good for America" attitude vis-a-vis the oil industry. Think of how much "new wealth" could be developed by an entire industry of alternative energy sources. Now that's sound policy. Instead, over a century after its invention, we are still relying on a petroleum-powered internal combustion engine. It took us 8 years after President Kennedy's moon landing speech to defy the force of gravity and vacuum of space to the extent that we could put human beings on an orbiting hunk of rock over 300,000 kilometers away. Come on people.

* I did some reading on the "Victims of Saudi Kidnapping" site. This is an example of how our government grabs its ankles over this oil dependency. If we are going to be at all morally coherent as a nation, we need to lance this boil now