America and Oil and Iraq

The USA as we know it would cease to exist if we did not control many of the global oil reserves.

One day we might have to thank George W. Bush for our continued success.

Which “global oil reserves” does the US actually control, and what percentage of our total oil consumption do they supply?

Does the US have more effective control over the global oil supply at present than we did when George W. Bush took office, or less?

Given that, as you say, our prosperity is so heavily dependent on use of a resource that we have only very limited control over, is there a case to be made for reducing our dependence? If so, how has the current Administration performed in coping with that task?

At the least the #1 and #2 oil reserves on the planet.

I don’t know that. I think that the majority of Americans are not willing to give up their lifestyle. We will need influence over Iraq to continue the the trend of consumption. In some ways it is human nature to be ruthless.

Of course we should reduce our dependence. The problem is that we aren’t going to. We use 10x the energy we produce. I doubt that there will be any abrupt changes in our level of consumption in the short-term.

IMO, this is the will of the people.

According to this US Department of Energy table, as of 01 January 2005, the two countries with the largest proven petroleum reserves are Saudi Arabia and Iran. I would have to hear a pretty good argument indeed to accept that the United States “controls” those reserves in any substantive way.

I presume by #2, you are referring to Iraq. Even then, the measure of control the US may have over Iraqi reserves is questionable. I have no information that indicates Iraq is selling petroleum to US refining companies preferentially to any other buyer, or to US buyers at below-market rates. I can see an argument for the US miltary adventure there having certain benefits for some US-based oilfield supply and service companies (through sweetheart production services contracts, perhaps) but I don’t think that’s what you have in mind.

So, if you don’t mind, please explain further: in what way does the US “control” Saudi and Iraqi oil, if that’s what you are referring to?

Whoops, sorry, should have said “Saudi Arabia and Canada”. Actually Iraq is fourth on the list.

Ethanol n nicotine, eh? Hmmmm.

No, actually the Oasis song you are thinking of is titled “Cigarettes and Alcohol”.


I’m confused. Does Bush control Saudi Arabia now? Because from what I remember, Saudi Arabia controls Bush. Cite.

This is all so confusing. You can’t tell who is dictator of the world without a program.

Take your mind off Bush for one moment please.

Saudi Arabia is not going to stop sending us oil. The House of Saud is firmly in control of the country; we don’t have to worry too much about them. The same wasn’t true of Saddam Hussein. The same is not true of Iran. Our influence over both of those countries is much greater now. Powerful people want to remain that way. Rich people want to stay rich.

Canada does not have the infrastructure to produce oil like the Middle East.

So, even assuming that you are correct, do you generally favor as a principle of international law that one country can invade another if they want to have control of the other country’s resources? Or is it a special-case rule for the U.S. only?

I also don’t think that people addicted to crack should be arrested if they break into your house and steal your money to get their fix. After all, they need it.

Yeah, Saudi Arabia is REALLY STABLE. A feudalistic society ruled by a family with 30,000 princes (popularly nicknamed “oil ticks”) living in high style off the public dole whose economy is totally ruled by oil, with high unemployment, a disaffected middle class unhappy with the lack of democracy, even more disaffected Shia and Sufi minorities, wildly extremist fundamentalist Islam (Wahhabi) as the official state-sponsored religion, and no rights to speak of for women and of course it’s the birthplace of Al-Qaeda as well as Osama bin Laden …

… oh, yeah, Saudi Arabia is stable, alright.

Pop quiz: which country currently exports more crude oil to the US: Saudi Arabia or Canada?

Hint: it’s not Saudi Arabia.

The US did not have to invade Iraq for US oil companies to have access to Iraqi oil at market rates. Sanctions inhibited access by US companies to Iraqi oil, not Saddam per se.

US oil companies apparently do not currently import any significant amount of crude from Iran, so I fail to see what the nature is of this supposed “greater influence” over Iran.

Our influence works thru our staunch allies, such as France. :rolleyes: [sup]In the same manner as we influence Iran’s nuclear program.[/sup]

First, I’d like a cite to the claim that we use 10x more energy than we produce.

As for changing our consumption, wouldn’t it be a wise road to actually enact policies to encourage this? And, if you are saying that the Iraqi thing is about oil, shouldn’t oil consumption be specifically taxed to pay for it? Why should I in my Toyota Prius (and kimstu not owning any car at all) be supporting this war to the same tune as someone driving a Hummer?

Sure, it is the will of the people…when they personally don’t have to pay the consequences of their choice but can simply free-load.

Your argument is non-sensical and your seeming belief that we can plunder other nations for their resources is immoral…and in fact illegal under international law.

Our relationship with Canada is even more concrete than the one we have with Saudi Arabia. I don’t believe that it would be incorrent to say that we have control over Canada. It’s a good arrangement - lots of people get lots of money. The fact that we have more gives us the position of power, at least for now.

Our influence depends on our ability to kill people and destroy on a massive scale. Our willingness to do that depends on our level of desperation… which is bound to increase as the cost of producing energy rises.

Well, just think about it. Look at all the inefficient machines that are running constantly. We don’t need most of them. In front of me I have a lamp, a computer and a fan all consuming energy. Outside the sun is shining brightly. The room next to me has two lights and a large freezer. Upstairs there are two aquariums that need to be heated, filtered and illuminated. There’s the stereo that’s playing music. Do I need to go on?

I’m sure your Toyota Prius is extravagantly wasteful, even if it is less so than a Hummer.

If you ask me, the value of oil cannot be accurately determined because we can’t predict the result of a sudden drought. Also, it does not seem that Americans are willing to change the way they live so dramatically.

I reflect on the facts as I see them.

In other words, you simply made up the statement “we use 10x more energy than we produce” because you thought “Boy, we sure waste a lot of energy…Guess it must be a lot more than we produce.” I think you need to learn a bit about how Great Debates on the SDMB works.

By the way, while it is true that we import the majority of the fuel that we use to run our cars, we produce our electricity mostly from coal, natural gas, nuclear, and hydroelectric. My guess is that most of the raw materials for those are not imported.

[I’m interpretting “produce” as “produce energy”…or more precisely as a statement about the fraction of the energy that comes from domestic sources…be it coal, oil, uranium, or whatever. This may not have been what you meant but I don’t understand what else the heck you could have meant.]

…which only means that we even more headroom to save energy rather than go invading countries in order to gain control over their natural resources.

Well, I personally would not thank George Bush for turning the U.S. into a rogue nation.

I think you’ve got things a little mixed up there. When the coming drought actually occurs, we’ll have a pretty accurate measure of the value of oil - it’s price. Price is nothing more than a measure of value. Neglecting, of course, the effects government has on price through the various incentives and disincentives it imposes on the market.

Look, your point is completely incoherent. We don’t get below-market prices for oil from the Saudis OR the Canadians due to our “influence” over them. Canada sells oil on the world market, anyone willing to pay a higher price gets the sale. Same with Saudi Arabia. US consumers pay as much as everyone else for the oil we consume. We aren’t secretly shipping Iraq’s oil back to the US…what would the government do with it? Sell it to the oil companies so they can sell it to US consumers at a lower price?

Yes, the US government could subsidize gasoline prices for consumers. In fact, we do the opposite and tax gasoline purchases, although not nearly as much as some countries do. If you’re confused why europeans have to pay higher gas prices, it isn’t because we get our oil cheaper than everyone else, it’s just that european countries choose to charge much much higher gasoline taxes than the US.

And most of our “energy” doesn’t come from oil, oil is used overwhelmingly for transportation fuel. Electricity isn’t generated from oil, it is generated overwhelmingly from coal, nuclear, and hydro. Oil is only a few percent of US electrical generation. If gasoline prices went from $3.00/gallon to $10.00/gallon it would barely affect your electric bill.

Gasoline is used for transportation because it’s liquid, volitalizes easily, has a high energy density, and is extremely cheap. We aren’t getting a better price for gasoline because we invaded anyone. It might be argued that global oil prices are lower than they would be without US military intervention–if Saddam had taken control of Kuwait perhaps oil prices would be even higher. But the US doesn’t benefit preferentially from low global oil prices, the US, Europe and Japan all buy and sell oil on the same world market.

The estimation was not very precise. It could be less and it could be more; I would bet on more. I am not sure if I could produce enough energy to run even one of the devices in my house.

Whether or not that makes a difference depends on how new discoveries are applied. I assume that the advantage will go to the highest bidder.

I don’t understand the distinction.

People don’t die quick enough for that.