[OPE-L:6071] Fwd: Worth following (Part 2)

From: Patrick L. Mason (pmason@garnet.acns.fsu.edu)
Date: Mon Oct 15 2001 - 11:55:38 EDT

Rakesh and list:

This posting bears directly on recent oil discussion. I believe it is 
undoubtedly correct, i.e., after the Afghanistan is re-constructed there 
will be a realignment of Western and Japanese dependence on oil from middle 
eastern states. Russia will become increasing important.

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>Subject:      Worth following (Part 2)
>     Realpolitiks.
>After War, A World Economy Less Reliant on Middle East
>James Flanigan
>October 14 2001
>Although nobody is talking about U.S. oil interests in the war on 
>terrorism, beneath the surface serious questions are bubbling about 
>long-term supplies of petroleum and the shape of governments in the 
>oil-rich Middle East. Once the war is over--"once Afghanistan is 
>stabilized," in one oilman's words--a new order may emerge.
>The oil-bearing countries' relationship with the United States and other 
>regions will change. There will be a power shift among oil producers. 
>Major oil companies will be in a more advantageous position.
>To be sure, the war today is in Afghanistan, which is not an oil producer 
>yet. And there is no shortage of oil, as the Organization of Petroleum 
>Exporting Countries has kept production at a high level and prices stable 
>since Sept. 11, despite a worldwide business slowdown. But the issues of 
>international terrorism, led by Saudi-born terrorist Osama bin Laden, and 
>the vehement anti-Americanism of oil-producing Middle East countries are 
>causes of concern. The United States imports more than half the oil it 
>uses, and 28% of its imports come from the Persian Gulf region.
>In the new environment after the war on terrorism, within the next two 
>years or so, the global economy won't be held hostage to the Middle 
>East--although it still will depend heavily on oil from OPEC nations.
>It is too early to tell precisely what the new environment will be. But 
>changes are coming in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran and other countries.
>Some trends already are clear. Russia, the third-largest oil producer 
>after Saudi Arabia and the United States, has ambitions to increase its 
>role internationally.
>"Japan and China and Korea would like us to supply energy to them," says 
>Victor Ishaev, head of administration for the vast Khabarovsk region of 
>far eastern Russia.
>After the Sept. 11 attacks, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin pledged 
>Russian energy supplies to a worried Europe, undermining any leverage OPEC 
>might have had.
>The former Soviet states of Central Asia will see development of oil and 
>natural gas and pipelines built to carry those fuels to China and India. A 
>new oil field called Kashagan, in the Caspian Sea area of Kazakhstan, is 
>extremely large.
>"Two wells have been drilled 25 miles apart and yet geology shows they are 
>connected," reports Albert Anton, head of research at Carl H. Pforzheimer 
>& Co., a New York investment bank specializing in energy issues.
>"The field could hold 30 billion barrels of oil," he adds--or as much as 
>the United States' oil reserves.
>Major oil companies will see great demand for their skills to develop oil 
>and gas in all parts of the world. BP is working on three natural gas 
>projects in the Irkutsk area of Siberia.
>Saudi Arabia has reached out to eight international companies to develop 
>natural gas deposits. ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch Shell, BP and Phillips 
>Petroleum are negotiating terms of Saudi gas projects worth $25 billion. 
>Occidental Petroleum, Marathon Oil, Conoco and French company TotalFinaElf 
>also will be involved.
>The gas projects are significant because the Saudi government launched 
>them as job development projects for the country's many underemployed 
>young people.
>Regarded 30 years ago as a place of endless riches, Saudi Arabia has seen 
>a population boom but not an economic one in the intervening decades.
>It now needs to develop a diversified economy, but is torn by conflicts 
>within its royal family over policies toward the United States and is 
>threatened by fundamentalist groups influenced by Bin Laden.
>"The No. 1 concern is instability in Saudi Arabia," says Patrick Clawson, 
>research director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and an 
>expert on terrorism.
>"Disruption in Saudi Arabia could prevent it from increasing supplies of 
>energy to the world economy," Clawson adds.
>But trouble in the Arab kingdom would not shut down the world economy as 
>it might have in the 1970s.
>There are vast supplies of oil in other countries, albeit some of them 
>more troubled than Saudi Arabia.
>Iraq, which recently discovered an oil field in its western desert, is 
>widely regarded as having more oil than Saudi Arabia once its deposits are 
>developed. Iraq is producing 3 million barrels a day, funneling most of it 
>to world markets through a United Nations-monitored program that directs 
>the proceeds to food and medicine for the Iraqi people.
>But Saddam Hussein's country has been stepping out. It ships oil to Syria, 
>which has grown newly prosperous reselling Iraqi oil. A chief customer is 
>the United States, which likes the low sulfur content of Iraqi oil, says 
>Nimrod Raphaeli, publisher of the Middle East Economic News, a 
>Washington-based newsletter.
>However, Iraq these days is worried about being attacked by U.S. and 
>British forces once they are done in Afghanistan. And indeed it may be 
>attacked, although regional experts say peaceful interventions by other 
>countries also could stop Hussein's government from sponsoring terrorism.
>Iran is working out internal conflicts over economic development. But with 
>a population of 62.5 million mostly young, educated and ambitious people, 
>Iran will need to join the general development going on around it.
>The aftermath of war, experts predict, will see pipelines laid through 
>Afghanistan to bring Central Asian oil and gas to Pakistan and India.
>Afghanistan itself has resources of natural gas and oil to be developed, 
>according to "Nutshell Notes on Afghanistan," a new book on the country 
>published by Enisen Publishing in Santa Monica.
>In the meantime, Russia will continue to develop its relationship with the 
>West, which has shifted dramatically in recent weeks.
>In quickly calling President Bush on Sept. 11 to pledge Russian support 
>for the U.S., "Putin made smart moves that change Russia's economic 
>outlook," says Joseph Stanislaw, director of Cambridge Energy Research 
>In Asia, Japan, China and other growing customers for oil and gas, are 
>diversifying their suppliers to reduce dependence on the Middle East, 
>notes analyst David Knapp, of Energy Intelligence Group, which publishes 
>newsletters for the oil industry.
>The United States, too, could reduce the threats of energy disruption, 
>says energy economist Philip Verleger, of Newport Beach.
>Introduction of more efficient vehicles, using technology already 
>available, "could reduce motor fuel use by 3 million to 4 million barrels 
>daily, savings that would substantially reduce the world's demand for 
>Middle Eastern oil," Verleger says.
>Whether such a saving, 16% of U.S. oil use today, will be achieved, 
>Verleger predicts "a drastically increased focus on energy conservation."
>Meanwhile the Middle East could benefit from less pressure to provide so 
>much of the world's energy needs. The region has occupied a curious 
>position since a dramatic rise in the price of oil changed world economies 
>in the 1970s. Production of its resources has not given the region 
>prosperous economies, even though countries in Asia and elsewhere have 
>In a postwar environment of peace--however achieved--the region and the 
>world may enter a more productive time.
>Oil Reserves and U.S. Imports
>In the long term, the holders of the biggest petroleum reserves will 
>remain critical to the global economy.
>Country Oil reserves* (Billion Barrels) Saudi Arabia 262 Iraq 112.5 United 
>Arab 97.8 Emirates Kuwait 96.5 Iran 89.7 Venezuela 77.0 Russia 48.6 United 
>States 29.7 Libya 29.5 Mexico 28.3
>* Reserves are as of Dec. 31, 2000 Source: BP Statistical Yearbook.
>The United States depends on these producers for oil imports, which now 
>comprise more than 50% of U.S. consumption.
>U.S. Imports by Country (billions of barrels per day)
>Supplier Country U.S. imports Saudi Arabia 1.7 Venezuela 1.3 Canada 1.3 
>Mexico 1.3 Nigeria 0.9 Iraq 0.6 Angola 0.3 Norway 0.3 Kuwait 0.3 Colombia 0.2
>* U.S. imports are January-July 2001)
>Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration
>James Flanigan can be reached at jim.flanigan@latimes.com

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