President Bush outlined his domestic agenda Jan. 28 while making
the case for removing Saddam Hussein from power, the United States
had already turned to an unlikely helpmate to alleviate its severe
oil shortages – Iraq.
a bit of "business as usual" irony, the oil-rich state
doubled its oil exports to America just weeks before a possible
invasion, thereby helping U.S. refineries cope with other pressing
international issues, including the oil strike in Venezuela, the London Observer reports.
the loss of 1.5 million barrels per day of Venezuelan production
in December, the oil price rocketed, and the scarcity of reserves
threatened to do permanent damage to the U.S. oil refinery and transport
keep the pipelines flowing, President Bush stopped adding to the
700-million-barrel strategic reserve.
ultimately, Chevron, Exxon, BP and Shell came to the rescue, doubling
imports from Iraq from 500,000 barrels in November to more than
1 million barrels per day to solve the problem. Essentially, U.S.
importers diverted 500,000 barrels of Iraqi oil each day that were
headed for Europe and Asia.
trade, though bizarre given the possibility of an invasion of Iraq,
is legal under terms of the United Nations’ oil for food program.
for war opponents, it shows oil is the unspoken reason for military
action in Iraq, which has the world's second largest proven reserves
– some 112 billion barrels, and at least another 100 billion of
unproven reserves – according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
the State Department is mindful of cynical world opinion about U.S.
war aims and the oil connection, officials do not always stick to
the script, the Observer reports.
Aldonas, undersecretary at the U.S. Department of Commerce, is quoted
as saying war "would open up this spigot on Iraqi oil, which
certainly would have a profound effect in terms of the performance
of the world economy for those countries that are manufacturers
and oil consumers."