Should America Export Oil? Senate hearings 2014-2015

[ There are excerpts from two senate hearings on exporting crude oil below. Much of the testimony is either from industries that will make money off of exports, or industries that will lose money because they use (cheap) oil as a feedstock (and energy source) for their products (i.e. plastics, fertilizers, petrochemicals). Several says exports will keep Europe and other nations within our sphere and not drive them towards being kind to Russia so they don’t freeze to death in the winter.  

They all assume that  fracked oil has made us energy independent.Harold Hamm, CEO at Continental resources proclaims that America has centuries of natural gas, that we’ll be energy independent in oil within this decade, and that this shows how wrong “the popular believe [was] that the United States would be running out of oil and gas at the turn of the 21st century”.

Peak oil does not mean “running out of oil”, but when oil production begins to inexorably decline globally.  Clearly this will happen because oil is finite.  For example, last year, only enough new oil was discovered to supply one month of global consumption.  And conventional oil, which is 90% of our oil supply, peaked in 2005, with over half of it coming from just 500 giant oil fields. It is likely that global conventional oil from these giant fields will be declining at 9% or more by 2030, and non-giants at even higher rates, so in just 14 years we could be down to half as much conventional oil production, with very little tar sand, fracked oil, and no arctic oil (takes 30+ years to begin production) to replace it.  There is a risk we didn’t prepare 20 years ahead of time as Hirsch recommended in his 2005 peak oil report for the Department of energy.

The only person who calls energy independence into question is Daniel Weiss at the Center for American Progress, who says “This energy abundance could be a temporary phenomenon. Although domestic production has significantly grown over the past 5 years, the Energy Information Administration projects that crude oil production will peak in 2019 and begin a steady decline after that…. My view is we need to focus on reducing our demand because that is something we do have control over.”

It’s not in the public interest to export oil. Someday the few other nations that still produce excess oil may stop exporting it to keep for their own populations, or terrorists might block chokepoints, leaving us reliant on our own oil.

But you’ve got to love Capitalism!  After all, that’s what happens when resources like oil, coal, and natural gas, that should have been publicly owned, are put into private hands.  Capitalism is the best possible way to deplete any given resource as quickly as possible and then go bankrupt before having to pay for the cleanup of toxic waste left behind. 

Alice Friedemann   www.energyskeptic.com  author of “When Trucks Stop Running: Energy and the Future of Transportation”, 2015, Springer]

Senate 114-17. March 19, 2015.  U.S. Crude oil export policy. U.S. Senate. 150 pages.

CHARLES T. DREVNA, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN FUEL & PETROCHEMICAL MANUFACTURERS

We’ve been lurching from energy crisis to energy crisis for as long as most of us can probably remember.

MARIA CANTWELL, U.S. SENATOR FROM WASHINGTON

Teddy Roosevelt in his Administration Papers on Conservation of Minerals in 1909. Teddy Roosevelt’s Administration found, ‘‘The greatest waste of petroleum has been in exporting crude petroleum and petroleum products to foreign countries. The necessity for it has been due to the sudden increase of production due to the discovery and immediate development of large fields and only by this means has it been possible for the producers to continue to obtain a constant market for petroleum where ever produced. This immediate purchase of product has meant a gain of millions of dollars to the producers.’’ I think the same observation is relevant today.

The U.S. Congress banned the export of crude oil in 1975 after oil exporting nations had used their export capacity as an economic weapon which caused serious damage to the U.S. and to the global economy. Since that time there has never been a reason to revisit the ban. For decades we, in Congress, have debated the best ways to deal with our country’s ever increasing dependence on imported foreign oil. Within the last decade we actually started to see that situation reverse as we started consuming less, producing more and importing less.

Now the oil industry is asking to repeal the export ban. As our oil industry producers produce more at home but our consumption stays relatively flat, our industry wants to sell American oil into the foreign markets where it can get a higher price. But let’s be clear about this.

The United States is and will remain a net oil importer. As we talk about whether we should export oil, we need to keep in mind that for every barrel of oil we export we will be importing even more.

The question before us today is whether this policy change will be in the interest of the American people. As policy makers our obligation is not to any particular industry nor to any particular economic theory. Our responsibility is to decide what policies provide the greatest good to the greatest number of people. As we consider these questions of whether this export ban is still the right policy for America, I think we should think about three variables. First, price. Economic effects of oil and gas prices ripple through our economy. Lower oil prices act like a tax cut for the vast majority of Americans. No one wants to see the price at the pump go up, not in my State of Washington or I’m sure throughout the country. In a published poll this week by Allstate in the National Journal Heartland Monitor, 79 percent of Americans said the current price drop has made a difference in their financial situation. The same percentage of respondents said they are using what they save at the pump daily for other necessities or paying down debt. I would rather have Americans get their own fiscal house in order verses more at the pump for their transportation needs. Second, safety. The oil is moving around our country in ways that we never anticipated, even just five years ago. Oil production has increased faster than the infrastructure needed to transport it in the safest ways. My state currently has tens of thousands of barreled oil traveling through every major population center of our state. And I want to be clear about this. We currently do not have the regulations on the books to safely transport this product. I am going to be working for further measures to make sure that we do get those standards in place. Third, energy security. No one consumes oil. We consume gasoline, diesel and other products that are made from oil. If we are sending oil abroad while some regions of our country then have to import gasoline, diesel and home heating oil, that were refined someplace else are we exporting

CARLOS PASCUAL, FELLOW, CENTER ON GLOBAL ENERGY POLICY, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, HIS: I want to address why eliminating the export ban on crude oil will create jobs, raise incomes, stimulate economic growth, lower gasoline prices and strengthen our national security and American influence in the world. From my experience I have seen that lifting the export ban would increase U.S. credibility and leverage in convincing international partners to adopt policies that mirror U.S. interests on Iran, Russia, free trade and even the environment. The ban on crude oil exports is an anachronism that grew out of a period of scarcity in the 1970s. The United States now has the fastest growing oil economy in the world. Since 2008 the U.S. crude oil output increased by 81 percent. This increase exceeds the combined production gains from the rest of the world. The conditions that justify the crude oil export ban in 1973 no longer apply.

RYAN LANCE, CHAIRMAN AND CEO, CONOCOPHILLIPS After decades of declining production our national fortunes are truly changing. This energy renaissance has benefited our country both domestically and geopolitically. We really have shifted the oil market’s center of gravity away from unstable sources. Even as President Obama said, ‘‘America is number one in oil and gas.’’ We have a bright energy future. That’s a new concept for us. We did it through American-made technology and ingenuity, but there is a problem. We’re producing more oil than our refineries can process economically. They could install new condensate splitters to process more light oil, but that could cost, on average, $400 million per refinery.

CHARLES T. DREVNA, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN FUEL & PETROCHEMICAL MANUFACTURERS

Debate should be grounded in fact. To that point I’d like to describe a survey we released yesterday that simply asked our members what they are doing and what their plans are in the near term to deal with this new light crude oil. In other words, this survey is not based on modeling or hypothetical scenarios, but on actual refiner’s plans. Bottom line. The refiners plan to increase their use of their light, sweet crude by over 730,000 barrels a day from 2014 through ’16. This is more than EIA’s projected increase for that time frame. The survey also pointed out the importance of being able to access the new production. For the refiners getting the crude has been much more of a bigger issue than refining it. If logistics were not an issue, respondents could process 1.5 billion barrels a day more crude in 2016 than they did in 2014 without any further investments than they already have in the works today.

The survey asked about the logistic activities to get new production to refineries. Most crude delivery was actually from the Bakken region where, in North Dakota, not surprising since this was a new region never connected to the refining system. But old regions in the Permian and the Eagle Ford areas in Texas also had significant crude delivery activities.

While these old regions had some delivery infrastructure problems, or infrastructure in place I should say, the reinvigorated production required some more infrastructure to get it to refiners. These results underscore, once again, that policies facilitating

Senate 113-355. January 30, 2014. Crude oil exports. U.S. Senate. 67 pages.

HON. RON WYDEN, U.S. SENATOR FROM OREGON. The fact is energy is not the same thing as blueberries and accordingly it is treated differently under Federal law. The Energy Policy and Conservation Act allows for the export of crude oil only when doing so is in the national interest. There simply isn’t that kind of requirement for blueberries or other commodities. National security, of course, is involved when Americans talk about exporting energy. Right now there are several armed conflicts around the world, in South Sudan, Libya, Mozambique and elsewhere that are certainly being inflamed by fights to control oil. Now I’ll put Oregon blueberries up against just about anything. But the last time I looked, nobody is fighting a war over blueberries. It’s hard to believe that only a few years after campaigns for America’s energy independence, having been dominated by slogans such as ‘‘drill, baby, drill,’’ our country now finds itself having a serious discussion on whether it should export crude oil. Energy independence has been a well-worn staple of virtually every politician’s energy speech for decades. Now our country is in the enviable position of having choices about our energy future.

In any energy debate it’s never very hard to find a voice for the various regions of America, for various industries in America and for various ideological points of view in America. Consumers, however, often don’t have one. I just want it understood that on my watch, the consumer is not going to get short shrift. Now it looks like a number of influential voices want to start exporting oil. I just want to hammer home the point this morning that, for me, the litmus test is how middle class families are going to be affected by changing our country’s policy on oil exports. It is not enough to say some algorithm determines exports are good for the Gross Domestic Product or some other abstract concept. American families and American businesses deserve to know what exports would mean for their specific needs when they fill up at the pump or get their delivery of heating oil. Simply charging forward and hoping for the best is not the way you get the best policy decisions. The responsibility of our committee, and we have always worked on these issues in a bipartisan way, is to make sure consumers are not going to get hammered by the cost of gas going up because of some theory that everything is just going to turn out hunky dory in the end.

We’ve all heard about how it’s a global price. I’m sure we’re going to hear that again today. But a global price does not automatically mean a stable price. If oil stops flowing from Saudi Arabia next week, American consumers and businesses would feel it in a hurry.

HAROLD HAMM, CHAIRMAN AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, CONTINENTAL RESOURCES, INC., OKLAHOMA CITY, OK.

In October 2011 DEPA put a stake in the ground and predicted American energy independence by 2020. America’s independent oil and gas producers have unlocked the technology and resources that made this a reality, not the majors. As a result we can today mark the recent 40th anniversary of the OPEC oil embargo by ending their oil scarcity in America and along with it ending the last short sighted regulation passed during that same period.

  • America now counts their natural gas supplies in centuries.
  • Experts agree we’ll be energy independent in terms of crude oil within this decade. This phenomenon was brought about by a group of independent American producers and missed by the general consensus of the industry.
  • It was in complete contrast to the popular belief that the United States would be running out of oil and gas at the turn of the 21st century.

GRAEME BURNETT, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, DELTA AIR LINES, ATLANTA, GA

Behind the U.S. military, Delta is the largest user of jet fuel in the world and jet fuel is our largest expense. Because of this we are uniquely situated both as an end user of crude oil and as a refiner to comment on the crude oil export ban and the current debate over whether to lift it. We believe strongly that the ban on U.S. crude oil exports is good policy and that lifting export limits now would come at the expense at the American consumer, who would pay more for gasoline, more for heating oil and more for the price of an airline ticket. Today the going price for a barrel of U.S. crude is $11 less than a barrel sold in Europe. This price differential can be easily explained. The U.S. crude market is a competitive one with price determined by supply and demand. Once the U.S. domestic market incorporated the increased supply of crude from places like North Dakota, the price of a domestic barrel of oil came down.

It’s clear who gains from this scenario. The oil exploration and production companies, many of which are foreign owned. With the increased supply of U.S. crude helping to push prices down these companies want to sell U.S. crude on the global market at higher prices largely determined by OPEC.

Our country’s refinery workers also stand to lose from lifting export limits. Some recent history can help explain why. Before the shale oil boom there was too much capacity in the refineries in the Northeast, along the Gulf Coast and many were closing. In fact Delta purchased its Pennsylvania refinery in 2012 from ConocoPhilips after their facility had been closed nearly 1 year. The shale oil revolution breathed new life into U.S. refineries and created jobs for thousands of refinery workers. In thinking about the merits of the export ban we should also consider one of its goals, which was to help achieve energy independence. By independence I mean the ability to meet our energy needs from sources within North America. Notwithstanding the upswing in domestic production this country still imports around 33 percent of its daily crude oil needs from outside of North America. That’s why exporting U.S. crude makes little sense. If we allow for the export of U.S. crude we’ll have to import more oil from overseas and subject ourselves once again to an increasing degree of price volatility and higher global prices. In sum, the export ban works.

AMY MYERS JAFFE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF ENERGY AND SUSTAINABILITY, INSTITUTE OF TRANSPORTATION STUDIES, GRADUATE SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, DAVIS, CA

[She makes long POLITICAL arguments about why we should export to Europe to weaken adversaries such as Iran and Russia] Another senator characterized her point of view as: What is your opinion of Ms. Myers Jaffe’s argument that U.S. crude exports, used as a tool of geopolitics, may have the effect of reducing volatility in the global oil market, much of which is driven by geopolitical conflicts?

What we’re really discussing is No. 1, what is the best way to organize free markets and to eliminate distortions and who gets the profit from the exports. Will the refining industry get the profits from the export or the upstream oil and gas industry get the profits from the export or will other industries get the profits from the exports because we’re not in here to discuss banning all energy exports from the United States.

Because we have physical bottlenecks that prevent us from exporting our surplus of natural gas we are currently exporting coal. We need to understand that when you block, like the little boy with the finger in the dike, when you block a hole in one point of the dike, water pressure comes to another point in the dike and something will be exported that’s a different thing. I think the natural gas example is the best example because nobody expected the United States, with its best, new abundance of natural gas and the industry and lower electricity prices that it is promoting, nobody expected the result of that to be the export of coal to Europe. I’m just returning from the World Economic Forum in Davos. I can tell you that the entire discussion focused around Europe’s need to reevaluate their entire energy policies because they are importing coal. Their emissions are going up. They are not drilling for natural gas. They realized that they have these huge distortions that have created a great economic advantage for the U.S. economy and a great disadvantage for the European economic system.

I want to remind the committee and our public that when we had a temporary disruption gas land supply during Hurricane Rita and Katrina as Senator Landrieu might remember, Europe loaned us gasoline supplies from their mandatory strategic stocks that they require industry to hold. That is how we weathered through our crisis. We need to consider our relationship with our allies like Europe when we think about our future export policies.

Energy exports will weaken some of our adversaries such as Iran and Russia. US shale gas has already played a key role in weakening Russia’s ability to wield an energy weapon over its European customers by displacement.

Energy exports also improve our balance of trade.

DANIEL J. WEISS, SENIOR FELLOW AND DIRECTOR OF CLIMATE STRATEGY, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS

Since 2008 the United States has produced more and used less oil due to advances in drilling technology, innovatingly employed by Mr. Hamm and his company and due to more efficient vehicles. This reduced oil imports and lowered our vulnerability to a foreign oil supply disruption that could cause a gasoline price spike. Lifting the ban on crude oil exports could squander this recently improved energy security and price stability. To maintain these benefits we urge you to defend the existing domestic crude oil export ban.

Although domestic production has significantly grown over the past 5 years, the Energy Information Administration projects that crude oil crude oil production will peak in 2019 and begin a steady decline after that.

This energy abundance could be a temporary phenomenon.

The EIA also predicts that in 2014 the U.S. will consume 5 million barrels per day more of oil and liquids than we produce. This gap between demand and supply will continue at least through 2040 growing by 13 percent. This is hardly energy independence.

Our transportation system is almost entirely powered by oil which makes crude oil different from many other commodities. American families, the economy and our energy security are vulnerable to sudden foreign oil supply disruptions and price spikes.

The U.S. imports more oil from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) than from any other single source. OPEC oil is very vulnerable to supply disruptions. EIA found that interruptions may occur frequently… for a variety of reasons, including conflicts [and] natural disasters… Total outages among the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) producers recently rose to historically high levels.9

A commission of retired senior U.S. military officers recently noted that ‘‘No matter how close the country comes to oil self-sufficiency, volatility in the global oil market will remain a serious concern.’’10 Oil produced in the United States is significantly less vulnerable to supply disruptions and therefore provides more energy security. There is little benefit to Americans from lifting the ban, particularly since oil companies are already making huge profits even with it. The five largest oil companies—BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, and Shell—made a combined total profit of $1 trillion over the last decade, based on their quarterly financial reports.11

I think all discussion about energy independence or almost all of it is focused on supply. That is something we control some of and some we don’t.

My view is we need to focus on reducing our demand because that is something we do have control over. It will help save consumers money. It will help reduce the carbon pollution that will cause extreme weather, that will disrupt our energy production and transportation system. So I think we need to really focus on reducing demand. Particularly when it comes to transportation which is fueled over 90 percent by oil, we need to invest in alternatives to oil whether it’s electric vehicles, whether it is natural gas fueled trucks, whether it is public transportation, advanced biofuels. All of those things will give consumer choices so we are not solely dependent on this one fuel to run, essentially run, our economy because as long as we are we’ll still be here having discussions about energy security and energy independence.

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) recently found that Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) supply disruptions in 2013 reduced the anticipated growth in world global fuels supply. EIA reported this finding in the just published ‘‘Short-Term Energy Outlook Supplement: Uncertainties in the Short-Term Global Petroleum and Other Liquids Supply Forecast.’’1 EIA determined that In January 2013, EIA’s Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO) projected that global liquid fuels supply growth would average 1.0 million bbl/d in 2013, but EIA’s latest estimate shows that global supply grew by about 0.6 million bbl/d in 2013. The difference mainly reflects higher-than-expected unplanned supply disruptions among OPEC producers.2 This same analysis found that OPEC disruptions increased in the second half of 2013, reaching 2.6 million bbl/d by the end of the year because of increased disruptions in Libya. The issues underpinning the outages in these countries are unresolved, resulting in uncertain oil production outlooks for these countries.3

As the production of U.S. oil has grown, the importation of foreign oil has declined from 57 percent in 2008 to 40 percent in 2013.4    [my comment: THAT’S JUST 17%]

This includes a 35 percent reduction in crude oil imports from OPEC since 2008, which was the second largest amount of imports since 1973.5 As U.S. domestic production continues to grow, EIA projects OPEC crude oil imports will decline by 47 percent between 2013 and 2020.6 Despite the important growth in domestic oil production, the U.S. will consume over 5 million barrels of oil and liquids per day in 2014 compared to the amount it produces.7

Unless there are large reductions in demand, the demand-supply gap will grow if the U.S. exports crude oil and liquids. This gap could be filled by oil from both OPEC and non-OPEC nations. If the U.S. begins to export significantly more oil than it did in 2013, it would have to import oil to offset the exports. Oil companies would like to export ‘‘lighter’’ crude oil because there has been a slight increase in light oil production in the U.S. over the past few years.89 In 2013, EIA reported that domestic crude oil was light, with an average API gravity of 35.3. Imported oil was intermediate, with an average API gravity of 28.10 EIA projects that the increase in domestic production will ‘‘replace imports of medium and heavy crude.’’11 If exports were allowed, refiners could import slightly heavier oil as they were before the domestic production increase began in 2009. The three largest importers of heavy oil are Canada, Mexico, and Venezuela, with average imports of 2.6 million barrels per day (mbd), 1.0 mbd, and .8 mbd, respectively, during the first 11 months of 2013.12 Presumably, some of the increase in heavier crude oil to offset any domestic exports will come from Venezuela, which is a member of OPEC. I am not aware of any projections of changes in future oil imports from these three nations if the crude oil export ban is lifted.

As you note, much of the price volatility in the global oil market ‘‘is driven by geopolitical conflicts.’’ I am not an expert in the regional conflicts in the Middle East, Africa, or other oil producing regions. However, even from my lay person’s perspective it seems that ancient sectarian disagreements, government repression, joblessness, and vast disparities of wealth in these nations are a major part of many of these conflicts. It is difficult to imagine, for instance, that the export of one million barrels of oil per day from the U.S. would have much impact on these factors.

In October, New York became the first state to establish a ‘‘strategic gasoline reserve’’ to prevent serious supply disruptions during extreme weather events or other emergencies.34

Amy Myers Jaffe recently promoted a mandate to ensure a certain amount of refined product inventories. She wrote: Regulators [should] mandate a minimum level of mandatory refined product inventories in the United States. Such a system exists in Europe and Japan and allowed Europe the flexibility to provide gasoline to the United States during the production shortfalls that occurred following Katrina and Rita, preventing worse dislocations. The system helped Japan in the aftermath of the Fukushima crisis.

New York plans to store up to 3 million gallons of gasoline for first responders and other motorists. Establishment of additional reserves could supply gasoline in other states in the event of future supply disruptions. Because of technical limitations on storing significant amounts of gasoline for long periods of time, there would probably have to be multiple smaller reserves rather than several large reserves, as with the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. The Senate Energy Committee should explore the need for such gasoline reserves, as well as the technical and economic feasibility of building and maintaining them.

A US government program reserving the right to use for strategic national emergency releases a portion of this mandated minimum supplementary industry refined product stocks of 5% or 10% of each refining company’s average customer demand would ensure that needed supplies of gasoline or heating oil in inventory to ease the impact of sudden weather related demand surges or accidental disruption of consumer supplies.35 I believe that this proposal would help address future extreme weather or other unforeseen events that cause gasoline supply disruptions.

some of the citations:

1 Energy Information Administration, Short-Term Energy Outlook Supplement: Uncertainties in the Short-Term Global Petroleum and Other Liquids Supply Forecast (U.S. Department of Energy, 2014), available at http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/steo/special/pdf/2014lspl01.pdf.

2 Ibid 3Ibid

4Energy Information Administration, AEO2014 Early Release Overview (U.S. Department of Energy, 2013), available at http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/aeo/er/pdf/0383er%282014%29.pdf.

5Energy Information Administration, ‘‘U.S. Imports from OPEC Countries of Crude Oil,’’ available at http://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/hist/LeafHandler.ashx?n=pet&s=mcrimxx2&f=a (last accessed February 2014).

6Energy Information Administration, ‘‘Imported Liquids by Source, Reference case,’’ available at http://www.eia.gov/oiaf/aeo/tablebrowser/#release=AEO2014ER&subject=8- AEO2014ER&table=101-AEO2014ER&region=0-0&cases=ref2014er-d102413a (last accessed February 2014).

7Energy Information Administration, AEO2014 Early Release Overview (U.S. Department of Energy, 2014), Figure 12, available at http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/aeo/er/ earlylproduction.cfm?src=Petroleum-b2. 8Energy Information Administration, Annual Energy Outlook 2013 (U.S. Department of Energy, 2013), Figure 98, available at http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/aeo/MTlliquidfuels.cfm.

9Crude oil with an API gravity greater than 35.0 is ‘‘light,’’ while oil with an API gravity less than 25.0 is ‘‘heavy.’’ In 2013, EIA reported that domestic crude oil was light, with an API of 35.3. Imported oil was intermediate, with an API of 28.

10Energy Information Administration, Annual Energy Outlook 2013, Figure 98.

11Energy Information Administration, ‘‘WTI-Brent Spread Projected to Average $11 per barrel in 2014,’’ This Week in Petroleum, February 12, 2014, available at http://www.eia.gov/oog/info/ twip/twip.asp.

12Energy Information Administration, ‘‘U.S. Imports by Country of Origin,’’ available at http:// www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/petlmovelimpcusla2lnuslepc0lim0lmbblpdlm.htm (last accessed February 2014).

 

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One Response to Should America Export Oil? Senate hearings 2014-2015

  1. yt75 says:

    For your information, a summary of the first oil shock story :

    A summary :

    – end 1970 : US production peak, the energy crisis starts from there, with some heating fuel shortages for instance (some articles can be found on NYT archive on that), or :
    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c5/US_Oil_Production_and_Imports_1920_to_2005.png
    – Nixon names James Akins to go check what is going on.
    – Akins goes around all US producers, saying this won’t be communicated to the media, but needs to be known, national security question
    – The results are bad : no additional capacity at all, production will only go down, the results are also presented to the OECD
    – The reserves of Alaska, North Sea, Gulf of Mexico, are known at that time, but to be developed the barrel price needs to be higher
    – In parallel this is also the period of “rebalance” between oil majors and countries on each barrel revenues (Ghadaffi being the first to push 55/50 for instance), and creation of national oil companies.
    – there is also the dropping of B Woods in 71 and associated $ devaluation, also putting a “bullish” pressure on oil price.
    – So to be able to start Alaska, GOM, North Sea, and have some “outside OPEC” market share, the barrel price needs to go up (always good for oil majors anyway) and this is also US diplomacy strategy
    – For instance Akins, then US ambassador in Saudi Arabia, is the one talking about $4 or $5 a barrel in an OAPEC meeting in Algiers in 1972
    – Yom Kippur starts during an OPEC meeting in Vienna, which was about barrel revenus percentages, and barrel price rise.
    – The declaration of the embargo pushes the barrel up on the spots markets (that just have been set up)
    – But the embargo remains quite limited (not from Iran, not from Iraq, only towards a few countries)
    – It remains fictive from Saudi Arabia towards the US : tankers kept on going from KSA, through Bahrain to make it more discrete, towards the US Army in Vietnam in particular.
    – Akins is very clear about that in below documentary interviews (which unfortunately only exists in French and German to my knowledge, and interviews are voiced over) :
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=fQJ-0jAr3LQ
    For instance after 24:10, where he says that two senators were starting having rather “strong voices” about “doing something”, he asked the permission to tell them what was going on, got it, told them, they shat up and there was never any leak. The first oil shock “episode” starts at 18:00
    The “embargo story” was in fact very “practical”, both for the US to “cover up” US peak towards US public opinion or western one in general, but also for major Arab producers to show “the Arab street” that they were doing something for the Palestinians.

    In the end, clearly a wake up call that has been missed, especially at a time when we are around global peak and the omerta about it is almost complete.

    Note : About Akins, see for instance :
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/26/AR2010072605298.html

    And his famous foreign affair article :
    http://www-personal.umich.edu/~twod/oil-ns/articles/for_aff_aikins_oil_crisis_apr1973.pdf

    His report to Nixon in 71 or 72 is still classified to my knowledge though, would be interesting to know if it can be declassified now.

    And about the “energy crisis” that started much before “Yom Kippour/the embargo” following US 1970 peak, was looking for a video of a Nixon speech that I didn’t find back, but below one is also quite characteristic :

    “195 – Special Message to the Congress on Energy Resources.
    June 4, 1971

    1971

    To the Congress of the United States:

    For most of our history, a plentiful supply of energy is something the American people have taken very much for granted. In the past twenty years alone, we have been able to double our consumption of energy without exhausting the supply. But the assumption that sufficient energy will always be readily available has been brought sharply into question within the last year. The brownouts that have affected some areas of our country, the possible shortages of fuel that were threatened last fall, the sharp increases in certain fuel prices and our growing awareness of the environmental consequences of energy production have all demonstrated that we cannot take our energy supply for granted any longer.

    http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=3038&st=oil&st1=

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